Opinion, Previous Issues

Lack of protest on campus does not mean lack of concern

Student protests against the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza have ignited on numerous college campuses across the nation.  A war that began after the Oct. 7 attack carried out by Hamas against Israel that left 1,200 Israelis dead and over 240 captured.  Since then, many Palestinian people have paid the price for the actions of a few with their death toll surpassing 34,183, many of whom are women and children according to Aljazeera news.

As of April 25, more than 30 schools in 16 states, from California to North Carolina, have reported on-campus demonstrations.  Students and faculty are calling for universities to distance themselves from companies that support Israel’s military effort in Gaza.  More than 500 people have been arrested during these protests but that has not deterred the efforts; in fact, it has inspired more to join the demonstrations, with many stating they are drawing inspiration from the Vietnam war protests and demonstrations protesting apartheid in South Africa.

It may seem that Saint Augustine’s has been sitting out or has ignored the call to global civic engagement as our campus has been quiet on the subject with no conversations being held by our students or faculty, but I feel that is furthest from the case.  I think that everything that we’ve had to endure and go through this year as students and faculty while our school faces tumultuous challenges has left us with little bandwidth to focus on additional issues.  We have had our own fires to put out and some of us may be a little burned out; from the mass exodus and having to pivot to remote classes for the rest of the semester, we’ve continued to excel and maintain in the face of adversity.

Is it irrational to think that many are simply looking forward to the end of the year and the beginning of a new chapter?  I must admit that I haven’t been my normal civically involved self as these dog days of the semester go by, but that does not mean I have not been following what has been going on around the world via the news and haven’t said many prayers for those innocent lives (Palestinian and Israeli) that have been lost or are in danger.  Just because we haven’t had any firesides about the conflict in Gaza doesn’t mean we are out of touch or apathetic.

Being students at an HBCU, we know better than most about the work done by the pioneers of the civil rights movements and the beacons of light that guided one another out of slavery.  How that work has inspired nonviolent demonstrations in the past and is a guiding light to those who take up the mantle now.

We know that, as the pioneer Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It’s just that our locus of attention has had to be our university and our futures.  And that’s ok.

— Nickea Griffin Crepsac