Jacob Gressin/Assistant Photo Editor The J-Board’s decision significantly alters the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions resolution passed at a marathon SA Congress on April 16.

The Student Association (SA) Judicial Board struck down parts of the resolution expressing the SA’s support for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions.

The decision, which repealed three of the resolution’s clauses, marks a major development since the resolution passed during a marathon April 16 SA Congress meeting. An Instagram statement released by the Divest from Death coalition — 27 student organizations advocating for divestment — accused the J-Board and the SA’s E-Board of suppressing student speech.

“The SA Executive Board has decided to stay silent and refuses to release this ruling even though they acknowledge that it is well within their powers to do so,” the coalition wrote. “This is a sharp departure from normal procedure. The Judicial Board — with the help of the SA Executive Board — is unilaterally overturning a democratic decision in an attempt to suppress student speech.”

The J-Board then released their ruling at 7:40 p.m. that evening.

In a statement to Pipe Dream, the SA’s E-Board emphasized the separation of powers within the SA — that its executive and legislative branches did not impact the judicial.

“The J-Board’s primary role is to ensure that all legislation passed by the SA Congress complies with the SA’s Constitution,” the E-Board wrote. “It’s crucial to note that failure to abide by the J-Board’s rulings can result in legal action against the [SA]. Legal action would divert funding from student organizations to legal fees. The J-Board issued their ruling during the May 1 Congress meeting, which aligns with their standard procedure. Their ruling typically involves amendments to bills, reflecting their judicial process. As per separation of power, the [E-Board] and Congress were not involved in the ruling or the timing of its release.”

J-Board ruled that the fourth resolved clause, which calls for the SA to pressure Binghamton University to divest from and sever ties with defense industry companies like Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, as well as the U.S. Military, was unconstitutional, holding it discriminated against individuals with military affiliation.

Under the SA Constitution’s free speech clause, it struck down the fifth resolved clause, which prohibits SA partnerships with companies supporting and supplying the Israeli military. The SA’s Constitution says the organization has to be “viewpoint neutral” when making financial or regulatory decisions.

Drawing upon precedent — a SUNY SA resolution passed in 2021 that contained the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, the J-Board decided to strike the ninth resolved clause, which recognizes Israel as an apartheid state. The decision said that it is not within the J-Board’s power to determine whether or not Israel is committing crimes of apartheid.

The J-Board, which was given 10 semester class days to release decisions, has maintained that they worked objectively without personal bias.

“The Judicial Board diligently reviewed this legislation, and evoking this 10-semester class day provision, we wanted to ensure that our decision was coherent and founded within the governing documents, causing this process to take almost all of the full 10 semester class days,” they wrote in a statement to Pipe Dream. “We reaffirm that our decision was impartial to personal beliefs on this matter, and the decision was based solely on the [SA’s] governing documents and past precedent.”

The resolutions’ eighth and tenth resolved clauses, which recognized Israel’s military offensive in Gaza as an act of genocide under the provisions in Article II of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and demanding that the University recognize it as such, were not struck down. J-Board also upheld the sixth resolved clause calling for an immediate and permanent cease-fire in Gaza and the return of all hostages held by Hamas.

The decision was not addressed at Wednesday evening’s SA Congress meeting, the last of the semester.

Following the release of their statement condemning J-Board for their handling of the resolution, the Divest from Death coalition established an encampment on the Peace Quad Wednesday night, intending to remain for multiple days. Organizers expressed their belief that the J-Board was attempting to bury their decision until the end of the semester before they were pressured into releasing an explanation.

“The explanations J-Board offered for overturning the resolution are nonsensical,” the coalition wrote. “Military personnel — not companies with military contracts — are a protected class under the SA Constitution. Additionally, the resolution’s condemnation of apartheid and genocide are in no way antisemitic, even under the vague and controversial IHRA definition. We hope to see these anti-democratic, politically-motivated actions corrected.”