BDS resolves ‘will not be implemented’ and movement ‘not promoted’ but motion will still be published

KCLSU President Sebastiaan Debrouwere and Vice President Anthony Shaw at last Tuesday's SGM. Credit: Dulcie Lee / Roar! News

THE BDS motion resolves will not be implemented, nor will the union promote the BDS movement, KCLSU announced this evening.

However the Union’s Trustee Board said that it “should not override the motion in its entirety”, and it will be published in the KCLSU Welfare and Community Zone.

After a four hour long meeting last Thursday, trustees made two decisions: “The first decision was that the Board should not override the motion in its entirety.

“This means that the motion will be published within the KCLSU Welfare and Community Zone alongside other issues on which our members have, by majority, voted.

“However The [sic] second decision was made that we will not use KCLSU resources to implement the ‘Resolves’ section of the motion or otherwise promote the BDS movement through the union.”

The motion, which supports a global campaign to put non-violent pressure on Israel over occupied Palestine territories, was passed last week at KCLSU’s Student General Meeting.

KCLSU President and Chair of the Trustee Board Sebastiaan Debrouwere said: “[The Board] decided that the motion as democratically approved by Student General Meeting should stand as a record of the majority view expressed on the issue, but that we should not act on the resolves, given the laws that govern us as a charity and our wider objectives as a charity.”

“Respecting freedom of speech and the welfare of our students is one of the most difficult balances to strike – not just for KCLSU but for students’ unions in general.”

He added: “The last week has been testing for our community, but I’m confident we can come together and get through these challenging times as a stronger union of students.”

At the SGM the motion passed with 348 votes for, 252 against and 45 abstentions.

Speaking in his personal capacity, KCLSU Trustee Ben Judge said: “The decision of the Board reflects the serious implications that the motion, if made official Union policy, might have for KCLSU.

“The decision not to allocate KCLSU resources to the motion was absolutely the right decision to make and I am proud to have been a part of that process.”

Since the motion was voted on by students, there have been two incidents of Islamophobic vandalism on campus, where Muslim prayer room signs were defaced. However, it’s unclear whether the two events are related.

What is BDS?

‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ is a global campaign that aims to put non-violent pressure on Israel over the issue of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.

Started in 2005, the movement aims to apply this pressure in order to force Israel to meet certain obligations under international law. It has attracted support from KCL alumni Peter Higgs and Desmond Tutu, among other figures.

This motion involved investigating KCL investments, partnerships and contracts, and putting pressure on the College to divest from any companies or institutions involved with Israel’s occupation of land.