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Divestment issue won’t appear on USG ballot

Students won’t vote on if Ohio State should divest this year.

An initiative asking the university to cut financial ties from companies “complicit in Israeli human rights violations and the occupation of the Palestinian Territories,” according to the OSU Divest website. has been removed from this year’s Undergraduate Student Government ballot.

According to the Judicial Panel of USG, for a petition to be valid, it has to have the name of the circulator on every page. The petition from OSU Divest failed to have the name on all the pages, the panel said, so the pages without the name were thrown out.

OSU Divest is an organization that aims to encourage the university to divest “from companies complicit in Israeli human rights violations and the occupation of the Palestinian Territories,” according to its website.

“The petitioned initiative will not appear on the ballot, seeing as the invalidity of the pages submitted does not leave a sufficient amount of signatures for the petition to appear on the ballot,” the panel’s decision read, adding that if the name had appeared on every page, the issue would have appeared on the ballot.

The Judicial Panel noted that it was not a direct consequence of invalid signatures, but of invalid pagination.

OSU Divest argued that the language USG cited in its election bylaws doesn’t apply to petitions, but the Judicial Panel disagreed, noting that other portions of those bylaws were followed correctly by the petitioners.

The organization also argued against a clerk acting as a plaintiff in the hearing, but the Judicial Panel said that argument was not substantiated because the panel is the sole body that deals with election matters.


Clarification: March 10, 2015

This article was updated to reflect that OSU Divest isn’t asking to divest from the nation of Israel, but rather from companies “complicit in Israeli human rights violations and the occupation of the Palestinian Territories.”


  1. Good. Should have never been there to begin with

  2. Show some respect. You could have voted no.

  3. I respectively say that it should not have been on the ballot and I with all due respect, I would have voted no.

  4. Goes to show just how sloppy this campaign was. If the groups pushing for divestment can’t even get a petition filed accurately, how could they possibly deal with a geopolitical issue?

  5. Whether you agree with what they were proposing, the truth of the matter is that the signatures obtained were not gathered in accordance wit USG rules; rules that have been written in such a manner that any college student can interpret them.

  6. So you really think that not having a name on the top of a paper should disqualify over 3000 student signatures on campus?

  7. What a crock. This is just the university shutting down a movement that, while maybe misguided, still had a voice to be heard. How convenient that a movement that threatened OSU’s profits is shot down by such a stupid loophole. I don’t agree with the divest argument myself, but it still garnered enough signatures to make it an issue to be voted on. I’d rather it be shot down democratically than just snubbed with a crap excuse.

  8. drake did it

  9. The great thing about America is democracy. What the student government did by censoring OSU Divest’s initiative is disrespectful to American values and all students, who should take this as a note that their opinions matter–as long as they’re the correct, PC opinions.

    I would not have voted for Divestment, but that’s not the point. The point is, students should have a say of what’s on the ballot, and to remove the initiative as well as the 3 Palestinian girls running for Senate the night before the election is not only sneaky and unethical, but un-American and frankly, racist. By removing this initiative, you’ve compromised the integrity of all 51,000 students you say you represent.

    Also: to those of you who say that they should have followed the rules correctly: other initiatives have also not followed the rules exactly, and they were all given a monetary fine. Their issues were not removed from the ballot.

    Not mentioned in this article is that the twitter account for the USG at OSU started to block any student that mentioned the issue via tweet to them.

    This whole thing is just so gross. USG should be ashamed of itself.

  10. Here are a couple of reasons people saw through this prejudicial proposal:


    • In the world of the BDS (Bigoted, Discriminatory Scumbags) movement, Palestinian nationalism is OK, Muslim nationalism is OK, Arab nationalism is OK, but Jewish nationalism is evil and must be erased/destroyed.

  11. “In other news, _____ Chapter of Students for Justice in Tibet have insisted that the university cease doing business with any Chinese company.” – Imaginary news report that would never occur because the bigots who attack Israel don’t actually care about “occupation,” they want to destroy the Jewish State.

  12. BDS is an anti-Semitic, racist movement, plain and simple. There are 49 Muslim majority countries in the world that identify themselves as Muslim and where Islam is considered the official religion of the state. But the BDS movement doesn’t seem to have a problem with that. They have a problem with only one nation, the Jewish one, which they wish to be supplanted with yet another dysfunctional Muslim state.

  13. Perhaps students signed one document, but their signatures were appended to another. With a name at the top, a student could claim before the Judicial Panel that a particular circulator delivered misleading or false information. Had the rules been followed and had students known about the initiative’s appearance on the ballot, this awful campaign may not have gathered as many signatures as it did.

    To be sure, not only would this proposal have cost students job opportunities, but it was deeply anti-Semitic. It’s one thing to sign a document for “human rights,” but quite another to unfairly blame a country of nearly half the world’s Jewry for the systemic failures in Palestinian leadership. Hamas and other recognized Palestinian terrorist organizations send children as suicide bombers, fire rockets from civilians areas, and redirect foreign aid to further their dystopian rule.

  14. I agree with Ben. I am a graduating Jewish student and I was going to vote no on the issue anyway because I can see the antisemitism spreading on campus as mere result of the movement. However, the way this went down was kind of shady. I would have rather the student body decide what to do and make their voices heard. I’d rather see this fail on a vote.

    Note: Being Jewish and anti-OSUDivest does not mean I’m all pro-Israel right now. I don’t like what they’re doing over there either. But a divestment will not solve anything. The consequence would be a divided and hateful student body, and that is not the Ohio State that I have come to know over the past five years.

  15. Celia and Leah support divestment.

  16. Who in USG is behind this? Why is no one called out by name? Who among the current candidates is for/against?
    Need better reporting, not everyone who reads the Lantern is in on the greek life subculture that is student government around here.

  17. This is disgusting behavior by USG, but not surprising.

    As someone who attending meetings, it would’ve been voted down. The campaign was extremely lacking in organization and meaningful direction. But to pull this act of cowardice/censorship (and don’t say rules are rules, the intent here is obvious) so close to the vote as to not give any time for reaction or response is the lowest of the low.

    Whoever in USG had the idea to do this has a bright future in politics.

  18. Really interesting how any criticism of Israel’s policies means that you are “anti-Israel” and want to “destroy the Jewish state.” I’m sorry, but is any nation above criticism? Criticism does not equal hate. Grow up.

  19. The way this process went down was incredibly unfair and inexcusable. End of story. If you disagree, vote, but don’t suppress opinions.

    What happened was this: a last-minute technicality objection, a hearing scheduled less than 48 hours in advance and moved in time and place multiple times (including the day of), plus threats that occurred during the hearing itself. The resolution was deleted from the ballot. Three Palestinian candidates running for office were removed as well.

    I call bullshit.

  20. It’s not racist or anti-semitic. It is a criticism of Israeli apartheid– a RACIST ISRAELI STATE.

  21. business student

    I am a student in Fisher and I support Israel Defense Force.

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