DCU Students Call for a Ceasefire in Palestine

Shane O’Loughlin

At 12pm on Wednesday the 20th of March DCU staff and students vacated classrooms in their droves in order to take part in the walkout in solidarity with the Palestinian people. 

The walk out, that was organised DCU Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) in conjunction with the Student Union, garnered major support with a particularly strong student base gathering outside of the U building to support the call for a ceasefire in Palestine and listen to the speakers invited by BDS.

Attendees heard from a number of spokespeople, including DCU Academic Dr. Paola Rivetti and fellow students, who called passionately for divestment in institutions and corporations supporting Israel’s ongoing military offensive in Gaza, a mobilisation of the student body to campaign for the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, and for action to be taken by DCU management to support Palestinian students.

Speaking to students Alannah Leddy and Niamh Leahy, who attended the walkout:

“DCU has lots of Palestinian students and we need to show our support and solidarity to them, because their families and friends have had their education and their lives taken away from them”

“It’s amazing how we all have come together to show our solidarity, it’s so important to have numbers here today.”

Alannah Leddy and Niamh Leahy

The set of aims for the walkout, as outlined by BDS on their social media channels, were: 

  1. The Enhancement of institutional support for Palestinian Students, 
  2. Cooperation with Palestinian Universities, such as the establishment of exchange programs for students and visiting fellowships for researchers,
  3. Pressure on the government to disinvest from institutional cooperation with Israeli institutions and corporations in the field of research.

Throughout the walkout it also became clear that another target of BDS was to increase pressure on the DCU administration to publicly condemn Israel’s war in Gaza. Walkout organiser and BDS member Deirbhle Nic An Aoire reflected this aim, DCU president Daire Keogh still hasn’t issued any public facing statement … even today we had a student from Palestine who talked about the tragedy, trauma and the pain she’s (gone through), there’s no respect for these students so we want to call that out.”

The desire for a public statement to be released from the university’s management was echoed by many students who attended, “It’s so important to go out and show our support, especially with having students in DCU from Gaza and DCU not taking a stance at all, even though they took a stance on the Russian Ukrainian War. I don’t see what the difference is now, why they can’t even send out an email or a statement online?

It is clear that there is a large section of students at DCU that share a strong compassion for the plight of those going through horrific atrocities in Palestine and are looking for actionable ways to make that compassion felt and their voices heard. Through the efforts of DCU BDS and the Student Union these students have been joined together and can amplify their calls to uphold the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people as a student collective. 

Considering the turnout and massive outpouring of sympathy and anger, this is likely not to be the last large-scale demonstration calling for a ceasefire in Palestine on DCU grounds. These students now look to their college administration and DCU president Daire Keogh for a response to their insistence of disinvestment, condemnation of Israel’s actions, and support for the Palestinian students in our own college community. DCU students demand action and stand strongly in solidarity with Palestine.

Image credits: Shane O’Loughlin