VSA statement regarding BDS vote

To our fellow stVassarsealudents,

As we’re sure you’re all aware, the VSA Council is set to vote this Sunday on a series of resolutions and amendments pertaining to BDS. While already a challenging conversation that a number of you have been involved with, things have become a bit more complicated, and, in order to maintain full transparency, we want the student body to be aware of the full implications of such a vote.

The Board of Trustees and senior level administration of the college have publicly stated they do not approve of the BDS movement, and that they are concerned with potential legal consequences of using funds to support a boycott. In spite of this, however, we remain resolute in allowing the VSA Council to decide for itself. The College President, as the governance states, has the ability to veto any “legislation which involves substantial change in the character of the residential or academic community or in the financial commitments of the college.” That being said, it’s come to our attention that, were the VSA constitution amended, by Council vote or referendum, to include a boycott, the administration and Board would still consider the option of no longer allowing the VSA control over the Student Activities Fee, the money that goes into the VSA budget, the money we then dispense to student organizations. If, however, the VSA were to agree to cede to the will of the administration and effectively ignore the results of the vote or referendum, then the funds would not be taken out of the VSA’s control.

As such, our statement prior to the vote is as follows:

We, the VSA Executive Board, have at no point supported this course of action suggested  by the administration and the Board of Trustees. We believe that it is still our duty as council members and representatives to vote with our constituencies in mind, in the way that these constituencies believed prior to this power being levied over the VSA. We also recognize the necessity of maintaining transparency, specifically in the interests of having an informed vote. Our goal in communicating this is to protect the future autonomy of the VSA and all of the student organizations that it supports. We are prepared to take the course of action that will best protect the interests of the student body as a whole.

There is still time to communicate with your representatives, and we highly recommend giving your feedback given this new information. Your opinions are important, and we want to hear them.

Thank you, and let us know if you have any questions,

The VSA Executive Board

11 Comments

  1. Humility and gratitude. When I was 20, I suspect I did not have these traits in abundance either.

  2. The VSA “recognize[s] the necessity of transparency, specifically in the interests of having an informed vote” on the BDS resolution. Really? What could be less transparent than authorizing an anonymous vote to protect yourself from the real world consequences of your decisions? If you are going to vote for an odious resolution that singles out Israel for condemnation, because, lets face it, there are a lot of Jews living in Israel, at least have the guts to admit it. Your failure to recognize the obvious contradictions in your positions would be comical if it wasn’t such a sad reflection on your inability to apply reason, logic or morality in determining your vote on BDS.

    Megan Tallmer
    Class of 1973

    • Transparency.
      .
      Megan Tallmer, if you;re so interested in transparency, as you claim, ask the “wealthy” victims to reveal all correspondence with and communication with the administration.
      .
      Ask the “wealthy victims” to reveal all communication and correspondence with smear and racist organizations like StandWithUs and Amcha.
      .
      Ask those organizations to reveal how much money and support they got from the govt. of Israel. Are you doing to deny that Israel has not sponsor such propaganda organizations
      .
      The transparency i seek here is the same transparency for any govt. action that is available to any citizen for any Govt. Vote.
      .
      There are lots of Palestinians living under apartheid in Israel. And you don’t have the guts to admit it. That’s rather cowardly
      .
      If you were a judge and if a citizen brought a complaint against a country, would you reject that complaint, because it didn’t have complaints against ALL other countries. Else doesn’t your excuse sound rather silly.
      .
      If you were a judge you’ld laugh at your own one sided call for transparency
      .
      But I do understand. As a pro-Israeli shill engaged in smear fest such obvious hypocrisy is game for you.
      .

  3. While I think it was a poor decision by the Board of Trustees to threaten to pull VSA funding, my strong feelings re BDS are in response to what is expressed in the linked page from the movement’s website. While the movement seems to have 2 official positions on the matter, one of them is for Palestine to reach from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. This is evidenced in the quote on the page linked below which states that Israel should cede ‘all Arab lands.’ Just to be clear- that means no nation of Israel, no Jews on that land and quite possibly means genocide. That is much bigger than an issue of fighting for Palestinian rights. It is violence, it is racism, it is based on historical inaccuracy and it is not a sentiment or a movement that should be supported in democratic societies nor sanctioned in academic institutions. It is murderous language plain and simple.

    http://bdsmovement.net/call

  4. I urge the VSA to vote NO to the BDS. This issue is polarizing and dividing the Vassar Community on campus and beyond. Over 700 concerned alumni, students, parents and friends of Vassar have signed an online petition condemning this hateful organization.

  5. I am very disappointed that the Trustees would show such disrespect for student voices. Actually quite shocking! Vassar should be there for its students, and their learning and growth- not for a group of alumnae who represent particular interests. There are a growing number of colleges, along with mainline churches, who support BDS. How can Vassar students be deprived of this option?

  6. Bravo VSA. Bravo VSA.
    .
    What you’re doing is standing up to the institutional forces that are basically kowtowing to the “wealthy victims”. Just imagine. These “victims” cannot win by their ideas, so they resorted to smears and bullying.
    .
    Is that all they have in defending Israeli Apartheid ?
    .
    The Emperor is naked !!!. Long live the Emperor !!!

  7. Don’t know why the VSA is being disingenuous here. The BoT is worried that the by-laws amendment will expose the school to a discrimination lawsuit, because restricting products on the basis of national origin could violate antidiscrimination law.

  8. “We believe that it is still our duty as council members and representatives to vote with our constituencies in mind”

    WHAT A JOKE. IF YOU CARED ABOUT YOUR CONSTITUENTS, YOU’D HOLD A PUBLIC VOTE SO THEY’D KNOW HOW YOU VOTED!!

    “We also recognize the necessity of maintaining transparency,”
    NOT VERY TRANSPARENT TO HOLD A VOTE LIKE THIS VIA SECRET BALLOT

  9. The VSA’s support of the hateful BDS movement will solidify Vassar’s reputation as an out of touch radical institutIon that gives moral support to Palestinian terrorists. There is nothing “progressive” or “just” about supporting the nihilistic Palestinian groups that refuse to accept Jewish national rights in the Jewish homeland. President Abbas incites young Palestinians with lies and encourages them to stab, shoot, and batter Israelis. He refuses to condemn terrorist attacks, even when a wonderful American student is murdered in Jaffa, Israel. Abbas, a so-called moderate, then has the audacity to offer condolences to VP Biden for the murder of Taylor Force, a Vanderbilt graduate student an graduate of West Point. The faculty members at Vassar are glad to accept their healthy paychecks, while selling out their students by tolerating and condoning anti-Jewish hate. The faculty lacks to moral backbone to speak out against the anti-Israel thugs on campus. An expensive Vassar diploma will become a liability, not a badge of honor. The VSA’s insistence on a secret ballot reflects that the VSA members are cowards who lack the decency to stand with Israelis who are subject to daily attacks on their existence. The State of Israel will continue to flourish, regardless of the ignorance of wannabe radicals in Poughkeepsie.

  10. if VSA is defunded under over this I personally pledge not only to never give a penny to the college during the tenure of this board and president, but also to allocate $5,000 towards the independent refunding of the VSA. The activities fees are paid by the students to use as they see fit. Using them as a bargaining chip in an unrelated matter is threatening theft — a practice that zionists are well acquainted with.

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