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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Forty-five people gather to call for Gaza ceasefire resolution from Student Government

Olivia+Ramos+and+another+Wichita+State+student+hold+up+a+banner+reflecting+the+number+of+Palestinian+lives+lost+since+the+start+of+Israeli+bombings+in+Gaza.+Dozens+of+community+members%2C+students+and+WSU+faculty+and+staff+assembled+at+the+Student+Senate+meeting+on+Wednesday+night+to+call+for+a+ceasefire+in+Gaza.
Allison Campbell
Olivia Ramos and another Wichita State student hold up a banner reflecting the number of Palestinian lives lost since the start of Israeli bombings in Gaza. Dozens of community members, students and WSU faculty and staff assembled at the Student Senate meeting on Wednesday night to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Wichita State students, faculty and alums urged the Student Government Association to pass a resolution supporting a ceasefire in Gaza, with at least 45 people in attendance during the Student Senate meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) had previously announced its plan to petition SGA for a ceasefire resolution via Instagram and encouraged others to show their support.

Attendees filled three rows of chairs, with others standing or sitting on the floor. A few supporters held up a poster that said, “30,000+ dead, 12,000+ children,” and some wore keffiyehs. One student wore Palestinian buttons, and another donned a beaded Palestinian flag necklace.

In 1948, the creation of Israel caused the displacement of over 700,000 Palestinians and the capture of 78% of the region’s land. After Hamas, a Palestinian political militant group, launched a surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, Israel started a bombing campaign on Gaza. 

As of Feb. 29, over 30,000 Palestinians and 1,200 Israelis have been killed.

Ten speakers went before the Student Senate in support of a resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza. Some reiterated how they hoped WSU’s support would lead to support at other universities, in Wichita and throughout the nation. 

After the speakers finished, audience members applauded loudly and some gave fist bumps or hugs.

Ceasefire resolution

Easton Vogt, a student executive for SJP, introduced the organization. He said the Student Government Association should pass a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza because students have contributed to past movements.

He also pushed against the argument that a ceasefire cannot happen because Hamas has not released Israeli hostages.

“The ironic thing is that a ceasefire inherently implies the release of hostages,” Vogt said.

Abdelkarim Jibril, the president of SJP, shared statistics about the “genocide against the Palestinian people,” emphasizing the vast displacement of Palestinians and the destruction of more health care facilities, places of worship, and residential buildings. Over 90% of Palestinians have been displaced.

He also highlighted the numerous children’s deaths.

Jibril’s voice caught as he discussed that the United States government has chosen to “fund a genocide” in Israel instead of alleviating poverty, homelessness and other issues within the United States. Student Michael Miller later echoed his points.

“If America is going to be a peacemaker in the world, it has to stay true to that, and unfortunately, it has not stayed true to that,” Jibril said.

Jibril said he hoped that Wichita State’s passage of a ceasefire resolution could influence other cities and the United States government.

“The more cities that do that, the more together we get against this genocide,” Jibril said. 

Israel has also used white phosphorus munitions to attack Gaza and Lebanon. White phosphorus is a lethal chemical able to burn human skin and cause internal damage, and its use is considered illegal in civilian areas under international law.  

Banine Haidar, the president of Arab Student Association (ASA), said the white phosphorus attacks on Lebanon have impacted her family, where she has a grandfather on dialysis, a grandma with a recently broken rib, and infant cousins. She said her friends in Syria and Yemen are also impacted.

“My story is nothing, absolutely nothing to what is going on with every single other person because I am Lebanese — I am not Palestinian, and here I am being affected by this,” Haidar said.

Haidar said ASA “has never been called terrorists and barbarians more than I’ve ever had in the last few months than in my whole entire life.”

“We have friends who no longer speak to us … our sponsor’s doctor has basically told her she’s no longer to be able to see her because she’s Palestinian,” Haidar said.

ASA has also hosted vigils and other events supporting Palestine. Haidar has found the reception positive.

“People have come up to us in vigils and said, ‘Thank you for hosting this; I didn’t think anybody would care enough,’” Haidar said.

Liesl Wright, a Wichita State alum, said she has always been proud to graduate from Wichita State and “would like to remain proud by seeing this school commit to ceasefire.” 

“We cry every day; it keeps us up at night,” Wright said.

She called out the United States’ lack of commitment to a ceasefire. The United States has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution supporting a ceasefire in Gaza three times.

Jens Kreinath, an associate professor of anthropology, said based on his German background, he sees “dangerous developments” in Israel that are leading to similar developments that happened in Nazi Germany.

“My family was affected (by the Holocaust), and I can tell you it is almost 100 years later, and nothing changed,” Kreinath said. “The trauma is still there for those who are, and every life matters every time.”

He said he knows Wichita students and community members who have lost family members — including one who has lost 30 family members, and another, 122. He also emphasized how Israel has destroyed universities and killed medical doctors and journalists.

“Cultural heritage was destroyed, and with every life, a life story goes,” Kreinath said. 

What comes next

Speaker of the Student Senate Kylee Hower expressed her gratitude for the speakers and praised their bravery.

Student Body Vice President Sophie Martins told The Sunflower that it is likely that the Student Government Association will introduce a resolution supporting a ceasefire in Gaza. 

“The good thing is that it seems like something is happening, which is amazing,” Martins said.

Student Sean Wentling said that if SGA did not introduce a ceasefire resolution, the students would continue to come to the Student Senate meetings.

“If you don’t take action, we’ll come to the next session — and the next session, and the next session and the next session and the next session,” Wentling said. “Free Palestine.”

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About the Contributors
Courtney Brown, News Editor
Courtney Brown is one of the news editors for The Sunflower. She previously worked as a reporter and assistant news editor. Brown uses she/her pronouns.
Allison Campbell, News Editor
Allison Campbell is one of the news editors for The Sunflower. Campbell is a junior pursuing a journalism and media production degree with a minor in English. Campbell hopes to pursue a career in writing or editing after graduation. They use any pronouns.

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