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The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

SJP Urges University to Divest from Companies Supporting Israel in Rally During Parents Weekend

More than a dozen students rallied in front of the Healey Family Student Center (HFSC) during Georgetown University’s Senior Parents and Family Weekend, calling on parents and students to urge the university to divest from companies supporting Israel in the Israel-Hamas war. 

The Feb. 2 rally coincided with the start of the President’s Reception, an event the Office of the President hosts to welcome families and showcase student groups in the HFSC. Protestors amplified their chants with megaphones in an attempt to make parents and students inside the HFSC hear them until the Georgetown University Police Department (GUPD) officers told protestors to stop using the megaphones. 

Selina Al-Shihabi (SFS ’26), a protestor and organizer of the rally, said Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a student organization that supports Palestine and calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, decided to host the rally outside the HFSC to maximize protestors’ visibility. 

“We knew that if we did an action during Parents Weekend, not only would it be high impact because there would be a lot of parents and would show the university we’re serious about our demands, it would be impactful to the university because the university cares about its image,” Al-Shihabi told The Hoya. “It would probably make the university more likely to answer our demands.”

Maren Fagan and Aamir Jamil/The Hoya | More than a dozen students protested in front of the Healey Family Student Center (HFSC) in a pro-Palestine rally that coincided with Senior Parents and Family weekend calling on Georgetown to divest from companies that support Israel on Feb. 2.

Al-Shihabi said the conflict was personal for many of the protestors, as they had family members killed in Gaza.

“I know people who have lost 40-plus family members in Gaza,” Al-Shihabi said. “Having lost just three family members, it’s still painful.”

Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis in its Oct. 7 attack and captured around 250 hostages, half of whom remain in captivity, according to the Associated Press. The Israeli military response, which had lasted 118 days at the time of the SJP protest, has killed more than 27,000 Palestinians in Gaza, along with numerous United Nations workers, journalists and healthcare workers.

During the protest, students accused the university of being complicit in the deaths of Gazan civilians and the destruction the region has suffered.

“Georgetown, Georgetown, we know you. You invest in genocide, too,” protesters chanted at the event. “Parents, parents, don’t be blind. You donate to genocide. Students, students, don’t be blind. Your tuition funds genocide.”

At the rally, students handed out flyers to parents leaving the HFSC that discussed Georgetown’s $28.4 million investment in companies like Alphabet, Google’s holding company, and Amazon, which sell products to the Israeli armed forces. 

“I am a student from Gaza. Georgetown paid for my murder,” the flyer read. “Georgetown invests over $28.4 million in corporations developing tech for the Israeli military. Divest from genocide now.”

A university spokesperson said that students are allowed to protest in accordance with the school’s speech and expression policy, which outlines that protests are allowed as long as they do not impact university business.

“Protests by members of the Georgetown community can happen anywhere on campus, but if they disrupt university business, the specific protest actions are subject to time, place and manner restrictions,” the spokesperson wrote to The Hoya. “In this case, after the initial GUPD response to a noise complaint, the students were allowed to continue with amplified sound and use of the megaphone.”

At the protest, however, Lukas Soloman (SFS ’26) said GUPD told protestors to stop using megaphones to avoid disturbing the events in the HFSC. Soloman then addressed the crowd and told them to chant louder.

“GUPD just arrived and told us to put the megaphones away,” Soloman said at the event. “Will that stop us? No.”

“We have the power of our voices,” Soloman added. “We have the power of our numbers. The students united will never be defeated.”

Reporters from The Hoya also observed GUPD officers instructing protestors to stop using megaphones. The protestors subsequently continued their chants without utilizing megaphones for the remainder of the rally. 

Al-Shihabi said the goal of SJP’s protest was to point out to students and parents that companies Georgetown supports invest in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Israel’s military, and to encourage them to call on Georgetown to withdraw their funds from these businesses. 

“We’re not calling for parents to stop paying their kids’ tuition,” Al-Shihabi said. “We’re calling for divestment from companies supporting genocide, like boycotting companies like Amazon.”

Al-Shihabi said the practice of divesting, boycotting and sanctioning companies is important in supporting Palestine because of the prevention of funding the IDF. 

“When everything is taken from you, and you don’t have the means to fight, what you can do is choose at least where your money is going,” Al-Shihabi said. “It’s something we should all be mindful of, and the importance of it is very underplayed.”

 

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