Pro-Palestinian Protests Calling for Loyola Divestment Continue for Third Day

Chants of, “No Justice, No Peace,” and “LUC what do you say? How many kids did you kill today?” rang out throughout the student center.

Protests continued for the third day this week on Loyola’s campus April 26 as students affiliated with the Coalition for Solidarity and Justice renewed their demands for the university to divest from companies which manufacture the weapons used in Israel’s continuing assault on Gaza.

After student protestors gathered on the East Quad for multiple hours for the second straight day yesterday April 25, coalition members brought the demonstrations inside to the Damen Student Center for a protest which began at 12:30 p.m. and continued intermittently for several hours.

Chants of, “No Justice, No Peace,” and “LUC what do you say? How many kids did you kill today?” rang out throughout the student center. Speakers railed against the university and its investment practices, which they alleged support genocide. 

The students demanded Loyola disclose its investment portfolio, reinstate the student representative on the Board of Trustees and fully divest from weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. University officials addressed some of these concerns at a financial town hall hosted in February, The Phoenix reported.

In an email to The Phoenix, university Spokesperson Matt McDermott said Loyola supports students’ right to express their opinions and beliefs, but will not adopt further calls for divestment.

“Loyola has already adopted and published the Sustainable Investment Policy, which considers the University’s commitment to sustainability, and the aspiration to contribute to a more just, humane, and sustainable world in our investment policy and practices,” McDermott wrote. 

Fourth-year classical civilization and art history major Katrina Hainline, who said she was present at each of the three protests, praised the student organizers behind the events as well as faculty members who have supported the students.

“As a Loyola student who has spent upwards of $200,000 on my education here, I am incredibly disappointed with the lack of reaction from our administration.” Hainline said. “For a school that claims to value social justice and human rights, it has been incredibly disappointing.”

The continued protests come as student demonstrations against the United States’ involvement in the Israeli campaign and university investments in weapons manufacturers have spread across the country.

Students at Northwestern University formed an encampment on the morning April 25, as several hundred pro-Palestinian protestors joined the “Northwestern Liberation Zone.” Students spent the night sleeping in tents on Deering Meadow despite threats of police escalation, The Daily Northwestern reported.

Hainline said students at Loyola have stood in solidarity with demonstrators at Northwestern and across the country. 

“I think we do all stand united as students,” Hainline said. “Education is such a privilege and all university students in this country are privileged to have education, and a lot of movements in the past have started at universities. So I think we all stand united in the liberation of Palestine.”

Students on other campuses across the U.S. — including Columbia University, the University of Texas at Austin, Ohio State University and the University of Southern California — have set up similar encampments and have been met with police violence, according to the Associated Press.

The demonstrations lie in the backdrop of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza as the Israeli military signaled earlier this week it plans to go ahead with an offensive on the Palestinian city of Rafah, AP reported

More than 34,000 Palestinians have died during the war, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, and it’s sparked regional unrest drawing Iran and allied militant groups into conflict with the U.S. and Israel. 

Isabella Grosso contributed reporting to this article.

Featured image by Griffin Krueger | The Phoenix

Griffin Krueger

Griffin Krueger