Will Smelko, the president of the UC Berkeley student senate, vetoed the divestment bill the senate had approved last week, that called for the University of California to divest from companies that have provided military supplies to Israel.
President Smelko declared, "To achieve and maintain campus unity and peace, the perception of the bill as a symbolic attack on a specific community of our fellow students, and/or fears of the bill being used as a tool to delegitimize the state of Israel, cannot be overstated."
Next week the student senate will vote on whether to overturn the veto of the ASUC president Will Smelko. Please consider sending an email to President Smelko (email@example.com) thanking him for his courageous decision and statement, and copying the rest of the student senate (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let them know of your support for the president's position.
"While the ASUC as a body has stated convincingly that it does not want ASUC and UC dollars going to fund weapons, war crimes, or human rights violations, this veto has to do with the mechanism by which the ASUC achieves its mission of building peace and goodwill in a way that avoids the shortcomings of the bill (such as a) ... selective, one-sided focus on a specific country that lacks important historical context and understanding," Smelko said in his statement.
Smelko said that his decision to veto the bill had come after lengthy consideration.
"This decision was by no means easy, and in fact one of the more difficult decisions I've had to make," he said in the statement. "No matter what I do, large groups of people are going to be very mad and upset, and I have to balance that with the fiduciary duties and responsibilities I swore to when I took office last May, no matter how big the pressure may be."