At Legal Insurrection, Professor Jacobson promoted awareness of last week’s anti-Israel all-campus student divestment vote.

However, the measure passed (but only 10 percent of the students weighed in). Now administrators are are about to give the supporters of the measure a lesson in economics.

Loyola University student Matt Lamb offers this analysis.

Supporters of college divestment from Israel have enjoyed a string of victories in student government, albeit narrow, in the past year. School administrations are another matter. DePaul University is the latest to tell students that divestment is problematic – and probably not effective at changing Israeli policy.

In a referendum as part of DePaul spring elections last week, the divestment measure passed 54 percent to 46 percent. With only 10 percent of the student body voting on whether to ask the administration to reassign its investments away from Israel, the vote gap was less than 300.

DePaul President Dennis Holtschneider told the student body after the vote that, while the board of trustees aims to invest in a “socially responsible” way, it has found Israeli divestment to be of “questionable value.”

The “political standoff at the root of this matter is deeply complicated,” Holtschneider said in a statement. “What is socially responsible to one organization or set of interests may be objectionable to another,” even within DePaul, he said. “Assuming that we could come to consensus, the extent of a specific company’s involvement in a controversial matter may be tenuous at best, especially in cases where conglomerates consist of many companies, where only one small company in its portfolio may be of concern.”

“I think Holtschneider captured it best when he said one group’s interpretation of socially responsible investing may be different than another group’s view,” Cameron Erickson of anti-divestment group Blue Demons against BDS – which stands for “boycott, divestment and sanctions” – told the Chicago Tribune.

Lamb recounts his school’s divestment experience.

Loyola University-Chicago’s experience with divestment pressure took a different path. A divestment measure passed the student government 26-0 in March, followed by a massive backlash from the Jewish student community and other pro-Israel students. Many in the Loyola community complained the resolution was introduced too quickly and without enough time for public comment, leading student government to hold a more open hearing with both sides and revote the issue.

A second vote on the Loyola resolution a week later drew only a slim majority, and it was a nonbinding vote, stating only that the student government supported divestment and urging Loyola to divest from certain companies accused of aiding Israel’s perceived human rights abuses. The student body president vetoed the measure, however, after the administration strongly implied it would not support such a measure.