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Boston College Protest Calls for Palestinian Liberation

Last Thursday, members of the Boston College community came together on O’Neill Plaza for a “Boston College Speaks Out for Palestine” protest. The protest followed a vigil that was held the night before calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. 

BC Buddies for Palestine, an independent student organization, posted about the event on Instagram and promoted it as a “registered protest.” Soon after the protest was publicized, users of Herrd, an app where BC students can anonymously voice their opinions, began posting sentiments expressing their discontentment with the political activity happening on campus. 

One user wrote, “I know what’s going on in Israel and Gaza is crazy and super sad but [not going to lie] I’m so glad we don’t go to a super political school.” 

Other comments were more harsh and critical of the protest and vigil, with many people confused as to how BC has any influence over international wars and what exactly students are protesting. 

One attendee, a student in MCAS ‘24, expressed her apprehension ahead of attending the protest in regards to the Herrd comments. “I was pretty anxious too because there was a lot of horrible vitriol, such as bullying protest organizers and anti-Palestinian rhetoric, along with threats of violence against protestors.” 

She continued, “I kept my eyes open the whole time for people on the sidelines.” 

BCPD officers were present along the perimeter of the plaza and attendees were advised to adhere to potential orders to show a student ID, as the event was restricted to BC community members only. 

The protest itself consisted of speeches from organizers and students, as well as chants calling for an end to the genocide of Palestinians and for BC to divest from Israel.  

“Lately, my heart has been heavy, but not as heavy as the weight of the rubble Palestinian civilians rush to lift off of their injured or dead family members,” Fairuz Saleh, LSEHD ’26, said in the opening of her speech. 

As a Palestinian herself, she has been disappointed with how the administration has handled the ongoing genocide.

“Palestine is always on my mind, how could it not be? Because for a university that preaches ‘men and women for others,’ I assumed no student would turn a blind eye to the constant violence Palestinians are enduring,” she said.  

The vigil and protest from last week occurred against the backdrop of a series of encampments and protests across universities in the country, many of them in the Boston area. In comparison to neighboring institutions such as Boston University, Emerson College, and MIT, the political climate at BC has been notoriously repressive and many students are indifferent at best. 

With that being said, it is not from a lack of effort from activists on campus. In February, a group of undergraduate and graduate students gathered to silently walk from Carney Hall to Boyden Park to show support for Palestine.

Despite the peaceful movement, BC placed two graduate students in attendance under disciplinary probation for allegedly violating the Student Code of Conduct. 

One of these students, Palestinian Amina Awad, SSW ’24, spoke at the protest last week. Her speech called out the university for investing in ExxonMobil and for the hiring of Ira Kirschner, a former Israeli Defense Forces soldier and the associate director of the Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center. 

The same attendee quoted earlier expressed, “As a queer Arab, I feel deeply uncomfortable that someone who’s supposed to support students like me has multiple flags of Israel around their office and actively participated in such a horrible military,” in response to hearing Awad’s speech. 

Notably, Awad said, “I know that queer liberation and Palestinian liberation go hand in hand.” 

Queer pro-Palestine activists are often criticized for their stance because of the lack of LGBTQ+ rights in Gaza. However, queer people exist everywhere and the intersectionality of identities and solidarity across oppressed groups is crucial in the fight for collective liberation. 

“I hope people at BC will realize that this school isn’t some apolitical haven, there are fighters and advocates in this institution and we won’t be silent just because you don’t want to disrupt the cloud of privilege and apathy hanging over this campus. We’re only growing more in numbers, this isn’t the end,” said the attendee above. 

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