By: Neta Chizhik  | 

Letter to the Editor: Overlooked Student Activists

To the Editor,

I'd like to respond to a recent letter published in this paper, written by Professor Gabriel Cwilich, addressing the lack of student involvement in protesting the most recent immigration ban policies.

I'm responding to this letter as a passionate political science student, as the co-president of the J. Dunner Political Science Society on campus who actively works to maximize my contributions both personally and communally.

As soon as the relevant executive order was signed, targeting Muslims (those with green cards, visas, permanent residence status) and many others from entering the country, I received an influx of messages from students across both campuses. Students were asking each other what could be done with regards to the order, how they could take action and protest the unconstitutional and discriminatory nature of such a policy.

Several students created Facebook pages to help YU students attend protests, arranging walking groups to head down to Battery Park and join thousands of others participating in protest of these policies. At least one student went to JFK and joined in protests there.

We have students creating murals.

We have students asking for events and who are excited to run them once approval is granted.

We may be the select few but we are the active ones.

We have students emailing, calling and texting their local politicians to voice their concern regarding the ban. These are students who have dedicated much time and effort to send a clear message to The Hill that constituents do not stand for such racially charged policies.

Several students on both Beren and Wilf campuses set up murals in the entry spaces of school buildings, aimed to build empathy and understanding of the current crisis. These students took time to print material, Biblical quotes, images and stories of individuals being affected and placed them artfully on campus walls.

I am writing this after spending many hours camping out in JFK with the volunteer immigration attorneys working to help those being detained and their family members. I spent many hours of my evenings traveling back and forth on the subway to run the media pages for these volunteer centers. These pages are what keep the American populace informed and help share information as events unfold.

We are a diverse student body; many do not get involved, as they would not get involved in any matters that extend beyond themselves. There are those who are apathetic, ignorant and indifferent. But there are many who care deeply. It takes some time to organize, to plan an agenda and convene in one, unified forum, but we have managed, and managed quite well at that. We understand the implications and ramifications of deeply discriminatory policies. We have taken the courses and studied such policies, and we understand that all this is directing us to a racist, isolationist state.

I invite the Professor and others to read the relevant articles published in both the YU Commentator and YU Observer. Both papers make our involvement in such activism quite clear, both in the physical and written forms.

Neta Chizhik, SCW ‘18