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Gonzaga Students Stage Walkout, Demand University Divest from Companies Linked to Gaza Conflict

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Gonzaga Students Stage Walkout, Demand University Divest from Companies Linked to Gaza Conflict

News Story by Mia Gallegos | FāVS News

On Wednesday Gonzaga University’s Community for Justice in Palestine held a walk out during the lunch hour on campus to stand in solidarity with those being killed in Gaza. The group is demanding that GU divest in arms manufacturers, defense stocks and companies whose activities or investments contribute to or enable the ongoing conflict in Gaza. They also request that the university cut ties with Boeing, Gonzaga’s main employer for engineering students. 

The walk out, which included about 150 students, faculty and staff, began with opening remarks from some of the main organizers of the event. This included reading a letter that this group wrote to the university administration from Lucy Cramer, a senior at GU. 

“‘We demand that Gonzaga withdraw from their involvement with the Inland Northwest Consortium, which partners with multiple aerospace companies that are directly contributing to Israeli defense forces, ministry of defense in Israel and which have explicit investment in the Israeli apartheid government,’” Cramer read from the letter. 

Protesters Call Out Gonzaga’s Corporate and Academic Ties to Israeli Occupation

Some of the companies mentioned within the letter included Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Collins.

“Gonzaga University’s involvement in the consortium shows that the university is in solidarity with the genocide in the region of Palestine,” Cramer read. 

Other demands within the letter included the request that GU cut all of their academic ties to Israel, including the Gonzaga-in-Israel study abroad program. The GU Community for Justice in Palestine expressed their desire not to take part in what has been coined as the “scholasticide” that currently exists in this part of the Middle East, due to the fact that there are no more standing universities within the Gaza Strip.

Protest Amplified Through Social Media Storm and Chants Targeting Gonzaga Administration

The speeches made by various organizers of this event were followed by a Twitter Storm, in which QR codes were distributed that led participants to a pre-written tweet that could be posted on their Twitter/X accounts.

The tweet concisely spelled out the demands that the community was making within this walk out, and concluded with the question “Why is GU complicit in mass atrocities?” The tweet also mentioned @Gonzaga_Prez and @GonzagaU in order to gain the attention of those running the accounts.

A march ensued following the Twitter Storm, in which several call-and-response chants were shouted by the participants. 

Organizer Calls for Swift Action, Acknowledges Uphill Battle on Divestment Demands

“Israel bombs, Gonzaga pays. How many kids did you kill today?” screamed participants as they made their walk through one of the main walkways in the middle of the university’s campus and toward the front of the building where many administrative offices are located.

Juliana Maucione, one of the organizers and board members of the community, led the crowd in these chants. She explained her desire to see immediate results from the demands that the community is making.

gonzaga students gaza walkout
Some of the 150 students, faculty and staff who walked out during lunch requesting Gonzaga University divest in arms manufacturers, defense stocks and companies whose activities or investments contribute to or enable the ongoing conflict in Gaza. / Photo by Mia Gallegos (FāVS News)

“I hope to have an answer immediately. Unfortunately, our struggle for divestment is not unique. We are running alongside a campaign, Fossil Free Gonzaga, who has been working for the past decade to demand fossil free divestment. It’s taken them several years to even make ground in the disclosure of those investments. So realistically, we are seeing a long battle ahead. But we are confident in the numbers we are seeing today and the strong campus solidarity with our goals that we are going to be able to put some more pressure on the administration to shorten that timeline,” Maucione said. 

Student Questions Gonzaga’s Values; More Palestine Solidarity Actions Planned

Grace Hammers, one of the attendees at the walk out, expressed her thoughts on the importance of holding this event on GU’s campus specifically.

“I don’t think that genocide is Jesuit. I don’t think that this falls under our core mission’s values, or what should be anyone’s values. It clearly doesn’t align with Gonzaga’s mission. If we’re caring about the body and mind of everyone on this campus, why can’t we care about the body and mind of everyone in the world?” Hammers said.

The Spokane Committee for Palestine is organizing several upcoming events similar to the walkout that occurred at GU. The committee intends to use the annual Bloomsday race as a means of expressing their support and alliance with the people of Gaza, while taking part in the long held tradition that this race has in the city of Spokane.

More information can be found on their Facebook page.

Mia Gallegos
Mia Gallegos
Mia Gallegos is a junior studying Journalism and Digital Marketing at Gonzaga University. Her love for journalism began in high school within her hometown of Broomfield, Colorado. She has written for the Gonzaga Bulletin since she first began at GU. Aside from writing, she is a passionate dancer and member of the Gonzaga University Bomb Squad, GU’s exclusively Hip-Hop dance team. Mia is a dedicated Catholic and is excited to be interning with FāVS during the Spring 2024 semester. She is looking forward to learning about religions aside from her own and to gain more journalistic prowess by working with the skilled reporters of FāVS.

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