On Wednesday night, Ball State called for a peace vigil to mark the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza. A student group of protesters also gathered. As IPR’s Ransom True reports, they were upset about the tone of the administration’s vigil invite.
The statute of Beneficence stood high above the crowd, almost level with the Palestinian flag that stuck out from the very center of the protestors.
The vigil included speeches, moments of silence, and music.
Outnumbering the other attendees, protestors were ushered to stay a bit longer by Michaela Ayeh, a Ball State student who wasted no time speaking even as university staff begin cleaning.
“I, like many of you, were unsettled by Dr. Alexander’s email and with Ball State University’s response to this conflict, as we feel the message ignores the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who have been slain in the past few months, years, and decades. This email raises questions of Ball State’s financial ties to Israel’s occupation of Palestine and calls the university’s political neutrality into question.”
The university’s email invitation pointed out in its first paragraph that Hamas invaded Israel, “killed hundreds of innocent civilians,” and is still holding many people hostage. It mentions innocent people have been killed in both Israel and Gaza, but did not mention the long history of conflict between Israel and Palestinians in the region.
Quickly the scope of the grievances went well beyond Ball State.
“The whole world wants you to see this as a religious issue and it’s not. I cannot stress this enough, this did not start October 7, it started 75 years ago with Nakba…”
In time, even the protestors dispersed.
Ransom True is a news fellow with Ball State Public Media’s Public Media Accelerator student fellowships.