FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Montreal, December 1, 2014
Concordia’s BDS Referendum Fraught with Calculated Corruption and Broken Bylaws
The Yes to BDS Committee condemns the failure of the democratic process surrounding the referendum on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of university ties to Israel’s illegal occupation
The Yes to BDS Committee at Concordia University condemns the No to BDS Committee’s multiple violations of referendum rules and the problematic nature of the regulations themselves. The No Committee’s actions are calculated tactics that have precedent at other universities and show contempt for the democratic process:
- Hours before polls opened on November 25, the Yes Committee’s referendum question was altered by parties other than the Yes Committee itself. The final question was misleading and omitted the essential elements of the BDS demands: to cease Israel’s violation of international law and human rights.
- The No Committee spread lies to the student body, notably that BDS is anti-Semitic and would strip Jewish students and professors of their rights within the university.
“They campaigned using misinformation, scare tactics, and caused confusion around the issue,” said Javier I. Hoyos, chairperson of the Yes Committee.
The Yes Committee also condemns the Concordia Student Union (CSU)’s incomplete referendum regulations that allowed the No Committee to violate the rules and derail the referendum process without any consequences to them. The CSU bylaws fall short in upholding the principles of the democratic process.
“This process has been undemocratic and Concordia students deserve better,” said Hoyos. Due to the undemocratic and calculated tactics employed by the No Committee, student voters’ ballots may never be counted, despite this student by-election bringing out more than 2,400 voters — compared with only 818 last year.
“Concordia’s current electoral process does not account for parties whose main priority is not to win the question but instead to sabotage it,” said Hoyos. The Yes Committee thus calls on the CSU to embark in a student-wide consultation process to reform the student union bylaws.
“Given the number of violations committed on the part of the No Committee, it is crystal clear that they did not fear sanctions nor the possibility of being disqualified, since that could result in the referendum results being called off.”
The BDS movement is rooted in the student resistance to apartheid South Africa. Like the Concordia Graduate Students’ Association’s already existent BDS mandate, the undergraduate BDS campaign targets Israeli companies and institutions complicit with the occupation of the Palestinian people and land, such as Concordia’s bilateral agreement with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, which has cooperative research programs with two of Israel’s leading weapons developers, Rafael and Elbit.
Javier I. Hoyos, Chair of the Yes to BDS Committee