2017 National SJP Conference
Saturday, October 28th, 2017
11:45am – 1:15pm CST
BDS 101 Introduction
Derek: Okay. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Uh this is the BDS 101 Panel. Uh, my name is Derek Hyde. I’m originally from the University of Toledo. Uh, we passed Divestment, uh, Divestment Resolutionary Referendum in 2015. Uh, and this is Ayesha. I’ll let her introduce, uh-
Ayesha Khan: Hi, everyone my name’s, uh, Ayesha Khan. I’m originally from SJP UCLA, that’s where I started my student work. And we passed our Divestment Campaign in 2014. Um, we brought it up multiple times before it actually passed. And, uh, right now I’m currently here in Houston. I’m based in Houston, I’m a PhD student at the medical centers. So a lot of what I actually do is recognizing and organizing. But I’m on national SJP, so I’m good. Yes…
“For UCLA, We Did Something Called Reverse Scheduling. So We Picked A Date That We Would Bring Up Our Campaign”
So, for UCLA, we did something called reverse scheduling. So we picked a date that we would bring up our campaign. So you pick that date, which is when you want to bring the resolution to student government. So that’s the avenue that we used, we went through student government. And then we planned eight weeks behind basically. So if week eight was the week of the divestment hearings, what did we need to get done the week before? So of you, you will have access to this whole document in the Google drive.
Ayesha Khan: Um, and this is probably the second most thing that comes after doing your research, coalition building. So you as an SJP Chapter on campus, it will be very difficult as an independent student organization to pass as contentious of a bill as divestment alone, without the support of any other group, and without the solidarity of other communities. It’s practically impossible. I don’t think any university’s been able to do that, which is why it’s really important to build a coalition. So most campuses have a version of progressive coalition, progressive leftist coalition, which is usually a coalition of student groups that have the same political ideologies and beliefs, but also mobilize for student government, that mobilize on other issues.
And SJP, if your Chap, if your Chapter is not a part of a coalition like that, then you need to find that coalition. And that is often with other identity based groups. So for example, the Black Student Union, the Muslim Student Association, um, I could, yeah, I could go to Jewish Voice for Peace. Basically these groups of organizations together are far more powerful than any one of them individually. So whenever they have any demands to make for the university, they make those demands as a unit, um, whatever organization it’s for. Um, and I think that’s, that-that’s where your power lies, building these coalitions.
So I want to kind of briefly pull up our, our endorsements. So when we actually brought the resolution, um, forth, um, we actually didn’t bring it up as just SJP alone. We were one of the co-sponsors, which means that all of these other institutions that you see here were also co-sponsoring that bill. So, when the resolution was brought to student government, the people speaking for the bill wasn’t just SJP members, or board members. It was literally board members from every single one of these organizations, which is a lot harder for them to oppose.
“A Resolution in Student Government That You … Essentially Does Nothing At The End.”
Ayesha Khan: Um, so when it failed, a lot of people thought that was, that was kind of the end of our trajectory for a while because we had put so much work into that one campaign. Um, but I think the most incredible thing that happened is our campus went from not knowing what Palestine was to literally frat boys on like the main street on UC, UCLA talking about how they’d seen something going down with divestment in our school newspaper. And that to me was unprecedented, at least at UCLA.
The amount of campus education and knowledge that came about in the two years that we pushed for the first campaign, I, that’s irreplaceable, and that is the value of our campaigns really, more than just passing, you know, a resolution in student government that you … essentially does nothing at the end. The value is the campus education. So we got a lot out of the first campaign, even though it failed.
NSJP Board Member admits: “We Are Dwindling In Numbers”
Ayesha Khan: Um, and we probably will not be able to even put on the next conference if we don’t get more people to apply.