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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Black Studies community urges University President Michael Schill to call for ceasefire in Gaza

Daily file photo by Jacob Wendler
The Black Studies community’s statement drew parallels between the “Black and Palestinian liberation struggles.”

The NU Black Studies community urged University President Michael Schill to publicly call for a ceasefire in Gaza in a statement Friday.

The statement asked Northwestern to honor its commitments to addressing its institutional history of racism. It tied the Palestinian experience to other “global colonial histories” that continue to shape the contemporary world.

During this Black History Month, the department invited community members to reflect not only on Black culture and legacy but also on the histories of other oppressed and marginalized groups, including Palestinians.

“We encourage the Northwestern community to take up the question of where we go from here through declaring support for a ceasefire in Gaza and effectively tackling the institutional history of racism at Northwestern,” the group said in the message.

The message comes as Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip has killed over 29,000 Palestinian civilians since militant group Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which killed about 1,200 Israelis, according to Palestinian and Israeli officials.

The Black Studies community noted in the statement that NU has political and financial connections to Israel, noting several members of NU’s Board of Trustees have served on the executive boards of companies that supply arms to Israel.

In November, Schill announced the formation of a new President’s Advisory Committee on Preventing Antisemitism and Hate, made up of students, faculty, trustees and administrators.

Even though the committee has said it will address Islamophobia, the statement raised concerns in the community over whether that promise will be honored.

The Black Studies community pointed to a 2020 statement from former University President Morton Schapiro condemning “anti-Black racism.” The department said they have seen “nothing” in terms of “actual initiatives” since 2020. 

“We wonder whether the current task force on antisemitism will come to resemble a formulation of recommendations against different racisms never to be implemented,” the statement said.

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