UMN Divest referendum passes by 217 votes

A total of 6,567 students voted on the referendum.

Max Chao

The University of Minnesota student body passed a controversial referendum on Sunday.

The All Campus Elections Commission announced shortly after 1 p.m. that a referendum that calls on the University to divest from companies involved with Israel passed by 217 votes. The vote comes after a contentious pre-vote debate between advocates.

3,392 students voted “yes” and 3,175 students voted “no” on the referendum, a margin of 3.4 percent. 

The referendum reads: “Should the students of the University of Minnesota demand the Board of Regents divest from companies that are 1) complicit in Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights, 2) maintaining and establishing private prisons and immigrant detention centers, or 3) violating Indigenous sovereignty?”

The vote was part of the all-campus election that took place last week.

The referendum was included on the ballot after garnering over 600 signatures, despite numerous complaints to the ACEC from campus groups such as Minnesota Hillel that claimed the referendum unfairly targeted Israel and gave inadequate time for debate before the election.

After spring break ends on March 16, the ACEC holds a complaint review process that could see the vote totals on the referendum change. 

If the referendum results stand after the review process, it will go to the Board of Regents for review. The Regents are not required to take any action on the referendum.