The McMaster Student Union General Assembly voted in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) motion on March 23.
Students filled Burridge Gym at 4 p.m. in anticipation for a monumentally important decision. After a short president’s report from MSU President Teddy Saull and an Engineering Without Borders briefing, the stage was set.
The motion for the MSU to join the international BDS movement was then brought forth. The BDS motion asks the MSU to divest from companies that profit from “Israeli war crimes, occupation and oppression of Palestinians.” A few students spoke passionately in support of and against BDS sanctions. However, the motion was quickly put to a vote, leaving some to wonder whether this allowed for substantive debate.
The motion passed with 622 in support, 28 against and 77 abstentions. Quorum was pegged at three percent, or 632 students and with 727 votes accounted for, the motion was binding.
Additionally, a motion to increase inclusivity at Bridges Cafe – specifically to adhere to religiously observant practices – was discussed. The motion passed, with ease. This motion was originally voted on at the beginning of the GA but was brought to a revote to make it binding on the MSU once quorum had been reached after the BDS vote.
An additional motion, one that wasn’t originally on the agenda, was brought forth. The motion originally proposed the election of Vice Presidents by the student body starting in 2016, but was then amended to propose that the MSU hold a referendum in 2016 that would decide whether the student body wants to elect MSU VPs at-large. Despite its sudden and surprising proposal, the motion also passed. But the decision was non-binding, as quorum failed to be reached. The issue will be discussed at the next SRA meeting. For more, read here.