On Thursday morning, the University of Michigan canceled the controversial campus-wide referendums on the Hamas–Israel war.
Timothy G. Lynch, the university’s vice president and general counsel, cited an email sent to the student body by a coalition of 61 student organizations on Wednesday. That email urged students to vote yes on Assembly Resolution 13-025 (AR 13-025), which accuses Israel of being an apartheid state carrying out genocide and war crimes against Palestinians. It also urged students to vote no on Assembly Resolution 13-026 (AR 13-026), which condemns Hamas terrorism.
Lynch said that the email “constitutes an inappropriate use of the University’s email system and a significant violation of Standard Practice Guide 601.07. That communication irreparably tainted the voting process on the two resolutions.”
According to Lynch, “The University immediately brought this violation to the attention of CSG [Central Student Government]. CSG declined to address this threat to the integrity of the election results.”
Voting on AR 13-025 and AR 13-026 is no longer open, and the preliminary results will not be published. Ballots for the remaining ballot resolutions, CSG Assembly elections, and constituent school and college assembly elections are still available at vote.umich.edu until 10 p.m tonight.
UPDATE: The CSG Office of the Executive Committee issued a press release in response to Lynch’s statement. The press release states that CSG declined the university’s request to cancel the referendums because “the CSG governing documents do not clearly forbid” campaigning on ballot questions through mass emails. Furthermore, “Central Student Government had no obligation and no precedent for terminating a vote in the middle of our election period.”
The press release adds:
The decision to deny students of a forum to voice their opinions on these questions goes against our governing documents and our morals as student leaders. For these reasons, CSG declined to remove the questions from the ballot.
A press release received by the Michigan Review from the University Elections Commission of CSG echoes the Office of the Executive Committee’s disappointment. “This represents an unprecedented attempt by U-M officials to shut down student voices and their votes,” it states.
UPDATE: Voting is now closed.