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TESC Students for Justice in Palestine Respond to Evergreen Administration
by TESC Students for Justice in Palestine
Thursday Jul 14th, 2016 1:19 PM
An open letter from TESC Students for Justice in Palestine’s response to the Administration’s statement concerning the affirmative student votes to boycott Sabra, Driscoll’s, and CAT products on the Evergreen campus and its refusal to respect the CAT boycott.

(This open letter is TESC Students for Justice in Palestine’s response to the Administration’s statement concerning the affirmative student votes to boycott Sabra, Driscoll’s, and CAT products on the Evergreen campus and its refusal to respect the CAT boycott.)

To the President and Vice Presidents of The Evergreen State College:

First, we are in contact with individuals on the Food Systems Work Group and we have been informed that Sabra and Driscoll’s products will be removed from the shelves at Evergreen by Fall Quarter. We will continue to follow up with the work group to ensure that the vote is respected.

Second, we find the Administration’s position on CAT equipment wholly unacceptable. Your “our-hands-are-tied” attitude shows complacency to and complicity in the brutality of the occupation of Palestine. CAT manufactures and provides the militarized bulldozers that are used by the state of Israel to destroy the homes and crops of Palestinian civilians in one of the most egregious, ongoing examples of ethnic cleansing in the world today. It is disgraceful that The Evergreen State College continues to support CAT’s unethical business practices and Israel’s settler colonialism by using CAT products on campus.

Many in the Evergreen student body have recognized the moral bankruptcy of having CAT on campus and so they voted by an overwhelming majority to boycott CAT equipment. It is the students who are the primary source of funding for the college. It is through the student’s attendance and support that the college exists. We, the students, are the greatest shareholders and stakeholders that the college has. The Administration should assume the position of its students and work in earnest to respect their decisions. Instead, you have shown just how little the will of the students matters to you. It is clear that the Administration’s relationship to student government is distinctly undemocratic.

The Administration has sighted legal codes in order to avoid taking a stand on the CAT issue and, by extension, the illegal and immoral occupation of Palestine. You pointed out in your response to the student votes that Evergreen’s “social contract clearly specifies that the college is obligated not to take a position in electoral politics or on public issues except for those matters which directly affect its integrity as an educational institution, the freedom of the members of its community, its financial support, and its educational programs.” Inaction to the injustices of the occupation directly affects Evergreen’s integrity as a progressive educational institution and its purported commitment to social justice. It denies the freedom of the members of the Evergreen student body to self-determine on the question of Palestine. It exposes hypocrisy of the educational programs that teach us about the realities in Palestine while the Administration does not allow us to do anything about it. Those fighting for justice realize that what is right is frequently not the same as what is legal. We have read the laws the Administration sighted and we find the Administration’s interpretation inadequate and illegitimate. We instead respect the numerous U.N. resolutions and the international laws that declare Israel’s occupation and oppression of Palestine illegal.

In conclusion, we issue three demands: 1. The Administration must be transparent in its bidding and contracting processes, past, present, and future, in accordance with RCW 39.04.100; 2. The Administration must honor the student vote to boycott all CAT products on campus; 3. The Administration must take strong actions in support Palestinian sovereignty, human rights, civil rights and the BDS movement. Students and academics have historically played significant roles in social movements. The contemporary BDS movement is no exception. The Evergreen State College community has a moral obligation to do its part to end the horrors of the occupation of Palestine. We will not be placated with excuses. Expect us to organize.

TESC Students for Justice in Palestine