Following is a call from Hampshire students for support. This is a historical moment. Please take the time to apprise the administration of your views.
Over the last 24 hours, there has been a huge response from students, parents, journalists, activists, public figures, political organizations, and individuals such as yourselves from across the country and the world congratulating us for our historic achievement this week. We are impressed and heartened by your passion in supporting us in this exciting campaign.
There have been many developments since SJP went public with the divestment, so it might be hard to keep track of the flurry of updates that have been published all over the internet. Please visit our website for the most recent statements (http://www.hsjp.org/). Also, Phillip Weiss’s blog (http://www.philipweiss.org/) is a particularly good resource, as they’ve been following the events closely.
Your support so far has been so helpful, especially since we’ve been working non-stop since we broke the news. There’s so much more to be done, so we’ve come up with a few specific ways to demonstrate your solidarity with SJP and the movement. Here they are:
1) E-mail the administration and the President to voice your concern over their refusal to own up to the divestment decision. Express your disappointment that President Hexter has done nothing to condemn Alan Dershowitz’s threatening phone calls to SJP’s spokespeople (see update on website). Forward your letters of congratulations that you sent to us to them too. Make sure they know that divestment is not just a college—it’s a movement!
A script is attached to the end of this e-mail (or the bottom of this message) as a guide if you would like to use it.
Ralph Hexter (President): firstname.lastname@example.org
President’s Office: +1 413-559-5521
2) Hampshire’s endowment is very small which means that most of the college’s year-to-year operating budget comes from tuition fees.For those who have donated, your contributions are greatly appreciated and important as the school is already in a troubled financial state. What we would like you to do for now is e-mail us every time you make a donation with the amount and your name so we can keep track of the funds and the support network. If you haven’t donated already, here’s the link:
3) Contribute to our video series, “Voices of Divestment.” We are trying to show the world that this isn’t about a small group of activists, but a wide range of people from all different walks of life. We would like you to make short 30-second to 1-minute clips and send them to us by uploading the video to YouTube and emailing us the link.
Keep them informal, but stay passionate! Improvise. We want to hear why you support divestment in your own words.
Check out existing videos here: http://www.hsjp.org/voices-of-divestment/
Or alternatively: http://voicesofdivestment.wordpress.com/
4) Build momentum! This isn’t just about us; we’ve been getting a lot of e-mails about help and advice for starting similar BDS campaigns at other schools, and this is one of the most important ways you can help. If the BDS movement spreads rapidly, it will become clear to the public and the media that this is not just a local administrative dispute, but that we have finally reached a critical threshold in the United States.
Many groups and individuals have contacted us asking about going on speaking tours and giving trainings for campus divestment movements. We are very excited about the prospects of helping to spread divestment to many campuses and are investigating the logistics of how to make this happen. For now if you are interested in hosting us for a speaking tour in some capacity, please email us at: HampshireSJP@gmail.com with the subject “SPEAKING”.
The following is the script to guide you in e-mailing the president’s office:
Hello, my name is _____. I am calling/e-mailing to express my congratulations to Hampshire College for your historic decision to divest from the Israeli Occupation. This move should be an example to all institutions of higher learning across the world.
However, I am disappointed that the administration has been trying to distance itself from the decision and de-politicize the powerful statement that divestment sends. In your response to the Student’s public campaign, you have repeatedly insisted that the divestment decision had a “variety of reasons” for going through, and that it had no regional or political significance. However, the length & intensity of the campaign that the Students for Justice in Palestine have run makes it clear that it was their efforts that brought this divestment to the table. I sincerely hope that you will reconsider your position on divestment and express your support for the students’ efforts in an official statement soon.
Lastly, your failure to condemn the threats Alan Dershowitz has made towards SJP’s spokespeople is deplorable. Dershowitz has called for a boycott on the College and you have still maintained your “neutral” position, hurting the students, the college, and yourself. I urge you to protect your students and their right to speak out on this monumental occasion.