Op-Ed, Opinion

OP-ED: We invite BU to join us in the fight against gun violence

Op-Eds do not reflect the editorial opinion of The Daily Free Press. They are solely the opinion of the authors.

Shana Weitzen (Pardee ‘25) is a third-year International Relations student in the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies and the President of Students Demand Action at Boston University. 

Maxine Slattery (GMS ‘24) is a second-year Biomedical Forensic Sciences master’s student in the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine and the Vice President of Students Demand Action at Boston University. 

As the co-founders and leaders of the Boston University chapter of Students Demand Action, we were inspired by the recent op-ed published by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill chapter of March For Our Lives that was co-signed by over 140 student leaders across the country. 

We strive to encourage Boston University students to join us in the fight against gun violence. 

Annika Morris | Senior Graphic Artist

The threat of gun violence is not unfamiliar to BU students, who experienced a terrifying swatting call during the Spring 2023 semester. Students hid in dorms, the George Sherman Union and dining halls. We waited for the “all clear” from campus police while misinformation spread around campus. 

Thankfully, the call was fake, but the fear was real. Students at any educational level should not have to experience real or fake active shooter situations. 

Guns are the number-one killer of American children, teens and college-aged students. This does not have to be our reality. 

As the op-ed conveyed, students are changemakers, and a rich history of student action exists in our country. BU has its own impressive record of student organization and action and is a pioneer in inclusion in higher education. BU students should be inspired, if not by their anger at this senseless violence, then by the history of BU, and join the fight.

SDA at BU is continuing its mission to encourage the University Board of Trustees to permanently divest the university’s endowment from firearm manufacturers. This is part of SDA’s #KillerBusiness campaign, which calls on colleges and universities nationwide to divest from the firearms industry. 

The gun industry — which rakes in an estimated $9 billion each year — has refused calls to make its products safer and halt dangerous marketing practices, often catered to our nation’s youth.

BU students, alumni, staff and faculty can support this initiative by signing and sharing our divestment petition

A similar petition presented to the Board of Trustees in the fall of 2022 was rejected by the Board, as “the degree of social harm” of gun violence in America was not high enough to initiate divestment. It should shock the BU community that the Board of Trustees came to this decision so soon after the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas. 

The decision was followed by many more mass shootings, including at UNC-Chapel Hill and Michigan State University. 

The degree of social harm caused by guns in this country has exceeded a justifiable degree for years. The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting should have been enough for BU to divest from gun manufacturers, yet it was after this tragedy that they first refused to make this life-changing commitment. 

The upcoming 2024 election year is another way that students can engage in the fight to end gun violence. By registering to vote, requesting mail-in ballots and diligently voting for gun sense and gun reform candidates, students can drive the elections to advocate for our lives. Last semester, SDA at BU held a voter registration drive, where we helped students register to vote and informed them about gun sense candidates. 

We want to encourage more BU students to become aware of and involved in the fight against gun violence. We have all been touched by the epidemic of gun violence personally or through family or friends. 

This is not a battle that we need to fight alone. 

We have seen how strong the BU community can be when it comes together. Last year, the 2023 graduating class protested their commencement speaker to support the SAG-AFTRA strike. Students across BU’s campus have been passionately advocating for the lives and rights of both Palestinian and Israeli civilians. 

The BU community has the power to come together now to fight gun violence and encourage divestment. 

By exposing the gun industry, we can hold them accountable and limit the transfer and use of deadly weapons. We can and will be the generation to stop the gun violence that has been plaguing our lives since we were children. No more thoughts. No more prayers. No more deaths. 

From this point forward, we will be taking action to make our communities, grocery stores, movie theaters, places of worship and schools the safe spaces they were intended to be. We hope that the BU community will join us in our fight to make our country a safer and less violent place.

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  1. The importance of this issue cannot be understated. It is unreasonable and reckless not to act in every way possible to prevent gun violence in any arena, but especially in locations such as schools that should be safe environments that support learning, not opportunities for gun-wielding individuals to create tragedies.

  2. As a faculty member I support you 100%. I’ve been calling on BU to divest from guns for years, and this gives me a boost of energy.