Students rally for TU divestment from Israel as SGA considers resolution

By Scout Hoerl, contributing writer, and Gabriel Donahue, editor-in-chief

Approximately 70 Towson University students gathered in Freedom Square Tuesday to support a resolution brought to the Student Government Association encouraging the university to divest money from companies that fund Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza. 

The Towson chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America, who organized the rally, proposed the resolution to the SGA. Government Operations Chair Clifton Crosby Jr. and Sen. Alana Fithian-Wilson introduced it. 

“We felt it was necessary to step in and bring the bill to the floor, and really just to discuss the student concerns,” Crosby said.  

The resolution “urges” the Towson University Foundation to “completely divest from all companies and funds that invest in companies, including but not limited to all those on the [American Friends Service Committee]’s divestment list, that facilitate the illegal occupation, displacement, and settlement of Palestine.” 

The TU Foundation manages the university’s funds “for the benefit and promotion of the university or for all of the education and support activities that may be conducted by the university,” its webpage states. 

YDSA chairperson Dalila Ives, a junior, said Towson should invest in companies that “are less harmful.” 

A petition circulating to support the passage of the resolution nears 500 signatures as of Thursday morning. 

A second petition, created by Towson Hillel, the on-campus Jewish group, calls for the SGA to vote against the resolution. It calls the legislation “deeply biased and harmful.” 

Almost 3,000 people have signed the petition against divestment, according to an email Wednesday from Hillel’s executive director, Rabbi Alex Salzberg. 

“On its surface, the legislation targets the University’s investment strategy, but the campaign is truly intended to normalize extreme hatred of Israel and target Jewish students and organizations on our campus,” Salzberg said. “BDS campaigns do not shape university policy—they normalize antisemitism and introduce hate and division on campus.”  

The government operations committee was tasked with reviewing the resolution and will return with a recommendation for the SGA at a special meeting next Thursday. 

Rally attendees had one message Tuesday: “Disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest.” 

Some pro-Palestine demonstrations last semester also called for divestment from companies supporting Israel and transparency in the TU Foundation’s investments. Some of those students faced disciplinary action for not securing proper permits required by the university, The Towerlight reported.

Ives, the main organizer of the rally, said the group obtained permits for Tuesday’s demonstration.

 “We wanted to make sure that whoever was speaking wouldn’t face academic consequences,” she said.  

These Towson students call for divestment as hundreds of college students nationwide have participated in protests urging their universities to do the same. 

After the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” at Columbia University in New York City, which entered its seventh day Wednesday, saw the arrest of over a hundred students, at least a dozen campuses across the U.S. have been host to similar camps and demonstrations

Towson’s chapters of Lambda Theta Alpha and Lambda Theta Phi together hosted a march across campus Wednesday evening to “advocate for justice and peace while demanding a permanent ceasefire,” a flier for the event said. 

“As a human being, I know that if this were to happen to my motherland, which is Peru, I would be fighting just as hard,” sophomore Ariana Arias said in an interview at Wednesday’s protest. 

This week has seen increased activity supporting Palestine on other campuses in the Baltimore area, including University of Maryland College Park and Johns Hopkins University

Kalvin Salser and Theresa Pratt contributed reporting.


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