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University protesters in the United States have called for a withdrawal from Israel. What does this mean?

Pro-Palestinian students and supporters occupy a plaza at New York University on April 26.  (Photo: David Dee Delgado/Reuters)

Pro-Palestinian students and supporters occupy a plaza at New York University on April 26. (Photo: David Dee Delgado/Reuters)

College campuses across America have been rocked by pro-Palestinian protests this month.

Although the protestors' demands vary from university to university, almost all of the protests call for universities to divest from Israel in some way.

But for many educational institutions the exemption is not so easy. While there is some historical precedent for divestment, universities have so far refused to budge.

Here's what you need to know:

What is exclusion?

“Leave, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest,” chanted protesters at Columbia and at universities across the country.

Simply put, divestment is the opposite of investment.

Many colleges have an endowment fund, which is typically invested in stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments to help the college earn money.

Student protesters protesting Israel's military action in Gaza are demanding that their universities divest from investments in companies linked to Israel.

However, the scope of those requests varies from university to university.

At Columbia, for example, which some consider the epicenter of the recent student protest movement, a student coalition called Columbia University Apartheid Divest wants the university to divest $13.6 billion in endowments from any institutions linked to Israel. This includes technology companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet With commercial ties to Israel.

Protesters at other universities, such as Cornell and Yale, are calling on their schools to stop investing solely in arms manufacturers.

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Eden Hayes

"Wannabe gamer. Subtly charming beer buff. General pop culture trailblazer. Incurable thinker. Certified analyst."

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