The Bowdoin College student body voted decisively this week to reject a proposed boycott of Israeli educational and cultural institutions. The margin was more than five to one in opposition to the proposal.
The final vote listed 1,144 students against the proposed boycott, 228 in favor, and 247 abstentions.
The proposal was put to a vote after students associated with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) followed student government procedures and collected the minimum number of signatures required to put the question before the entire student body.
Eighty-five percent of Bowdoin’s student body of 1,915 (including students studying away) voted electronically over a period of four days, concluding at noon on Wednesday, May 6. The turnout was the largest for any student vote in recent memory.
“There was never any question about Bowdoin College joining this movement,” said Bowdoin President Barry Mills, who issued a public statement in December 2013 strongly opposing any boycott of Israeli institutions. “That said, it is gratifying to see this resounding and unambiguous statement by our students who clearly understand the vital importance of open discourse between scholars and educational institutions and the free exchange of ideas and knowledge.”