Standing in Solidarity with Pro-Palestinian Student Protestors

If you have read the news recently, you may have seen these words before. Across the world, protestors have found ways to express dissent over the genocide and ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people. The International Court of Justice issued an order to Israel this January for preventative measures against Palestinian genocide in the Gaza Strip. In spite of this, the death toll in Gaza reached more than 34,000, roughly 13,000 of whom were children. Officials are now losing track of the number of dead while atrocities like weaponized starvation threaten civilian populations. 

It’s important to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians as they face genocide. It is also a moral question of solidarity for us to face as students, in light of these atrocities, as the school year comes to a close. 

Solidarity, as a proponent of liberation, has been a social tool for decades, especially on college campuses. Famously, students protested the Vietnam War in the 1960’s and South African apartheid in the 1980’s. Much like today, these protests weren’t easy. Anti-Vietnam War protests at the University of Wisconsin-Madison faced extreme police responses of violence and tear gas. Protests against South African apartheid at Columbia University saw escalation in a slightly different way in 1985, as students were threatened with expulsion for their efforts. 

Today, protests against the genocide in Gaza are targetting university endowments and indirect funding of Israel’s economy. According to the Washington Post, the median university endowment as of last year was around $209.1 million, with some universities’ endowments reaching the billions. Those endowments are allocated towards investments in corporations, many of which fund Israel’s economy and subsequently the war in Gaza. Student protests have called for universities to disclose and divest funding towards Israel and companies affiliated with Israel, from the University of California, Los Angeles to Columbia University and even USF. 

Many protests have faced repression, such as police violence, suspension and harassment from counter-protesters. 

This suppression of protests for Palestine has painted a concerning picture of today’s free speech environment. With some campuses seeing riots and extreme police responses, students are in an increasingly difficult position — caught between a social movement and their own safety in peaceful protesting, much like student activists that came before them. 

With arrests happening across the country,  students are risking their own futures, and still, they continue to protest in unwavering solidarity. Even as we face consequences, we know from the past that our efforts on campus are necessary, and that bowing to unfounded pressures does not change the weight of the cause that we unite for. 

USF’s Associated Students of the University of San Francisco (ASUSF) Senate passed its own divestment resolution on Feb. 28, and is part of a larger student movement on campus protesting the war and USF’s alleged financial involvement. Our cover story this week, “USF Student Activists Establish a ‘People’s University,’” goes further in reporting on these protestor’s demands and accusations.  

These protests show that many USF students stand with Palestine. The movement that has brought these protests to USF’s own lawn has remained strong, and students should be aware of what’s happening on campus. 

A college is nothing without its students, and whether administrations find divestment demands agreeable or feasible does not change the moral responsibility students have to act. Having a united voice of educated students who are aware of both circumstance and consequence is the most effective approach for change. Every student must be educated enough to decide where they fall in solidarity and what that means for the end of their semester and future years at USF. As the university often says, “Change the world from here.” 

Editor-in-Chief: Megan Robertson, Chief Copy Editor: Sophia Siegel, Managing Editor: Jordan Premmer,  Opinion Editor: Chisom Okorafor 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *