Bowdoin College students passed a resolution calling on the school to take an official stance on the war in Gaza.

More than 1,300 students — nearly 70% of the student body — cast votes, with more than 900 backing the Bowdoin Solidarity Referendum. The results of last week’s vote were announced Monday evening.

Voting, which closed Saturday afternoon, came after 80 professors — over a third of the faculty at the school — signed a letter in support of students protesting and speaking out against the war across the nation.

Bowdoin College President Safa Zaki announced on Monday that she plans to have students both for and against the measure meet with members of the Board of Trustees this week. She said the requests made in the referendum will be reviewed over the summer but that the college would not take an official stance on the war.

“The first request in the referendum was for the college to issue an institutional statement. In keeping with my practice, I will not be issuing a statement, but students — both those who voted with the majority and those who voted in opposition — have essentially issued their own statements,” Zaki wrote in the email.

When asked Tuesday when the board members and students would meet, a spokesperson for the college referred The Times Record back to the email published on Monday and said, “We don’t have anything to add to that.”


Bowdoin’s Students for Justice in Palestine, which drafted the referendum, wrote on the group’s Instagram page that the voting results were a “crucial win.”

Ahmad Abdulwadood, a senior at the college and one of the organizers at SJP, said support for the referendum was encouraging and that the group expects Bowdoin College to honor the results.

“The gravity of this moment is not lost on us,” he said.

Ultimately, Abdulwadood said, the focus is on the situation in Gaza, where Israel has launched an offensive on Rafah, a southern city in the region. The offensive comes as Egypt and Qatar mediate a ceasefire deal that Hamas has agreed to but Israel rejected, according to The Associated Press.

In the Bowdoin Solidarity Referendum, SJP asks the college to disclose all arms manufacturing investments, a request the group compares to the college’s 2023 disclosure of involvement with fossil fuel funds.

The group also asked that the college avoid any future investments in funds with significant connections to defense industry companies, such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Boeing, and to reestablish a committee — one last convened in response to South African apartheid — to oversee college investments.

The referendum additionally called on the college to condemn scholasticide — the systemic killing and destruction of students, educators and institutions — in Gaza. Both the faculty letter and the referendum draft cited an April press release from the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which stated that over 5,800 students and educators had been killed in Gaza and over 8,500 more had been injured with numbers growing each day.

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