By: Megan Clark, Contributing Writer
The Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity hosted a rally in support of inclusion at Towson University. The rally, which was held Sept. 13, featured different speakers tackling topics of hatred and acceptance, and came only months after anti-semitic occurrences near Towson’s campus.
On April 29, a group of AEPi brothers were assaulted just off campus due to their Jewish heritage. Although Towson University administration and Towson police enforcement acted quickly, some still felt strongly that the problem should be more directly addressed.
The rally, dubbed “TU Combats Hate,” had a large turnout in Freedom Square. Students of many orientations and identities gathered to spread the word of acceptance and love at TU.
Towson University President Kim Schatzel spoke about diversity on campus. She recounted move-in day, stating that she witnessed students from 28 states and 18 countries help each other move in and console one another.
“[Students] come to Towson to be part of what we are all about,” Schatzel said. “We cannot have a high quality classroom, a high quality university, without inclusion.”
Schatzel asked participants at the rally to look around at everyone in attendance and accept each other, regardless of skin, sexual orientation, gender pronouns, or religion.
Dean Shilo, a TU alum and former AEPi Master, reminded those in attendance to “spread love and acceptance,” and that “strength and love will always overpower hate.”
Shilo said that hearing about the anti-Semitic attack on his brothers was the first time he “felt scared for being a proud Jew.”
While Towson University’s student population is nearly 44 percent non-white students, speakers at the rally stressed how TU still must be conscientious of language and how to build bridges between communities.
When Reverend Mitchell Johnson stepped up to the TU Combats Hate podium, he had one question for those in attendance: “What do you stand for?”
As a religious leader, Rev. Johnson spoke about catastrophe, such as the AEPi brothers’ attack, and how the way one reacts to issues is what defines them. He preached that “hate and intolerance are the children of ignorance,” and that education is the greatest tool and asset against such things.
After all testimony was given, AEPi handed out custom tee shirts and had a photo-op in front of a mural to showcase and remember the event.