Boston University Students for Justice in Palestine held a march Monday morning to call on BU to address their demands about divesting money and ending some Israel-affiliated programming.
The march began outside the George Sherman Union, where roughly 100 students gathered.
An organizer who wished to remain anonymous due to safety concerns said SJP is calling for BU to divest from weapons manufacturers and end BU programs including the BU Hillel’s Birthright, Israel Uncovered and the Haifa study abroad program.
Chanting continued down Commonwealth Avenue as the protestors walked from the GSU to the Center for Computing and Data Sciences, through BU Beach and then up onto Marsh Plaza. At Marsh Plaza, more students took up the microphone to speak to the group.
Faisal Ahmed, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, described the march as “emotional.”
“It seems a lot of pro-Palestinain efforts are student-led rather than admin-led, and that speaks to frustration in the student body and the need and necessity for something like this,” he said.
Ahmed said the “level of harassment” the movement has received is “ridiculous.”
“BU has been silent with respect to what’s going on and we feel like this silence, especially coming after the early emails [from BU], [has] empowered a certain population,” he said.
In response to an email sent by the Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Honors College’s Director Melissa Holt last week, Ahmed led a boycott along with Adam Shamsi, a senior in CAS, urging Kilachand students not to attend their Kilachand-affiliated classes until she issued an email giving into their demands.
“The administration has opened itself up to conversations, like they never have been before which we’re appreciative of,” Ahmed said. “But talking is one thing and taking action is another.”
Anna, a senior in CAS, said they decided to speak at the protest, despite receiving online hate over a video of them at a past protest circulating, because they do not want to be stopped from speaking out.
“I think it was important to show people that that should not stop us from being able to speak out in support of Palestine,” said Anna, who is a member of BU’s Revolutionary Marxist Students.
Luke, a senior in CAS and a member of Revolutionary Marxist Students, said his Marxist beliefs inspired him to protest.
“Any principled Marxist is taking a stand against what’s happening in Palestine right now,” he said.
Both Anna and Luke requested their last names not be shared because of recent doxxing events at other universities.
Not all students participating in the protest belonged to a specific organization. One protestor, who chose to remain anonymous due to safety concerns, said they came to protest both to show solidarity with Palestinians and to send a message to the University, which they believe is not doing enough to protect its students that choose to protest.
“The BU administration hasn’t been very receptive, or hasn’t done a good job of protecting their students for speaking up for Palestine,” they said.
The anonymous protester said they hope the protest raises awareness about the issue.
“It’s important to show solidarity and to show support to every single person supporting this cause,” they said. “It’s a sign of solidarity for one another.”
Maria Pemberton and Bailey Scott contributed to the reporting of this article.