Harvard Law Students Resign From Student Govt Over Secret Ballot Anti-Israel Vote

Harvard Jewish Law Students Association slammed the divestment resolution as antisemitic
Supporters of Palestine gather at Harvard University to show their support for Palestinians in Gaza at a rally in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 14, 2023. Thousands of Palestinians sought refuge on October 14 after Israel warned them to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip before an expected ground offensive against Hamas, one week on from the deadliest attack in Israeli history. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

Two Harvard Law students resigned from their student government positions after a resolution to divest from Israel was approved through an unconventional secret ballot vote, hiding the record of who supported the extreme measure.

The resolution, which calls on the Harvard Management Company to divest from Israel over the “genocide of Palestinians” and the “ongoing illegal occupation of Palestine,” violated the student government’s constitution, according to the two students, Cameron Adkins and Regina De Nigris, who resigned from the government shortly after it passed.

“We voiced our disagreement to the Student Government at every opportunity,” they wrote in their resignation letter. “Our concerns, however, were pushed aside. In light of this disagreement, we believe that our continued membership in the Harvard Law School Student Government would compromise our principles and values.”

The two students cite procedural issues with how the resolution vote was undertaken through an anonymous Google form and accuse their former fellow representatives of pushing the change through during an emergency meeting without letting students express their opinions. 

“The resolution has been pushed through at the last possible minute to avoid running up against the end of this Student Government’s term, and, perhaps, to insulate Student Government from receiving contrary input,” they wrote. “Given the importance of the issue, rushing this process is particularly inappropriate and unacceptable.”

According to the student government website, its goal is to “make sure that HLS is more fun and inclusive than we found it.”

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The student government members will be replaced by incoming recently-elected representatives next week.

Student body co-president Swap Agrawal said the secret vote was to “address concerns regarding doxxing and harassment.” 

The resolution passed with 12 in favor, 3 opposed, and 3 abstaining. The only two known votes are from De Nigris and Adkins, who were two of the three votes against the resolution. 

Student government members Robert Kim, Marissa Thomas, Tony Maquiling, Pat Healy, Aliye Korucu, Mackenzie Saunders, Tori Borlase, Connor Morgan, Felicia Caten-Raines, Dee Um, Hannah Chi, Katelyn Turner, Amanda Harrison, Kayla Hollingsworth, Vincent Okonkwo, Ojadamola Takuro, and Deyaa Alrwishdi did not respond to inquiries on their votes.

The Harvard Jewish Law Students Association said the resolution will “divide and alienate” in a statement posted to their Instagram account.

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“In total darkness, they set out to target the state of Israel without even notifying the leadership of Jewish or Israeli communities on campus,” the group wrote. “Demonizing Israel displays a callous disregard for the identities of so many Jewish and Israeli students at Harvard- by passing this resolution, student government asks the campus and the world to assume that those who have any connection to Israel are villainous.”

“This resolution is beyond just procedurally and substantively offensive: it is antisemitic,” the Jewish student group said.

The resolution accuses Israel of maiming, killing, and starving Palestinians in a “genocidal campaign” and calls upon the Harvard Management Company to “divest completely from weapons manufacturers, firms, academic programs, corporations, and all other institutions that aid the ongoing illegal occupation of Palestine and the genocide of Palestinians.”

Following the announcement of its passage, anti-Israel student groups held a last-minute victory celebration with cake and speeches in the student lounge on campus, a violation of Harvard policy.

Anti-Israel Harvard Law School students held a celebration with cake over its student government voting to divest from Israel.

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“We can’t expect Harvard to step away from its bloodlust on its own accord because war is profitable,” a student said during one of the speeches posted to Instagram. “These so-called leaders of this institution would be best served to listen to what we have to say because one day, when we win, and Palestine is free, they will come crawling back. They will be begging us to rewrite history.”

In the middle of the celebration, another emergency meeting was called over the procedural concerns, and another vote was taken to determine if procedure was followed after intense debate. Student Maya Husseini said, “Brats are upset they didn’t get their way” after Jewish students raised concerns, according to Stop Antisemitism. Another anonymous vote was taken, and the students upheld the resolution.


“I do not believe that it is the role of a student government to make blanket or unilateral statements on contentious issues that impact every student differently,” Adkins, who was able to resume his position for the second vote before his resignation went into effect, said. “Because the student government is not fully representative of our diverse student body, it is our job to remain neutral, offer support to all students, and avoid alienating or endorsing any particular viewpoints on campus.”

Harvard did not respond to a request for comment.

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