University of Texas at Austin Student Statement of Solidarity with Palestine

President Hartzell, UT Administration

We, as students at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, represented by the signed student organizations below, are in full support of Palestinian liberation and condemn the genocide of its people. We write in mourning and outrage at the more than 20,000 Palestinians murdered since October 7th in the struggle for freedom.

Our university administration has made it clear that they do not care for the loss of Palestinian life nor the safety of Palestinian students on this campus. We write to call attention to UT Austin’s failure to condemn this genocide and address how it affects our on-campus and broader Palestinian community.

Full statement can be found here.
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To: President Hartzell, UT Administration
From: [Your Name]

We call upon the University of Texas at Austin administration to immediately respond to the following:

Publicly acknowledge what happened – On October 12, 2023, three former Israeli Defense Forces soldiers clearly stated their violent intentions and targeted and harassed Palestinian students in the Welch building. The administration of the University of Texas at Austin needs to publicly acknowledge these egregious actions; students are supposed to feel safe on their own campus. Their derisive behavior and confidence throughout this act of aggression suggests that they hold no reservations in committing violence towards Palestinian students who attend this university, and the administration of this university, by way of their willful neglect of the attack, are letting them get away with it.

Publicly apologize – President Hartzell, you have put your most vulnerable students at even greater risk by justifying anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim hatred. You must apologize for releasing such an abhorrent statement, which has endangered your students.

Issue another statement – The administration at ​​The University of Texas at Austin needs to publicly acknowledge the valid concerns raised by the students, alumni, and concerned community members. A new statement must be released – in particular, one that condemns the violent genocide of Palestinians in Gaza by Israel and that acknowledges the pain of the Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim communities.

Divest from weapon investments in Israel - As of August 2020, The University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment Management Company (UTIMCO) has invested $52.5 million in weapons and weapon manufacturers’ debt and equity securities. Israel has been illegally using white phosphorus against Palestinians since at least 2009, and recently used white phosphorus against Gaza residents on October 10th and 11th, 2023. Many of the companies in which UTIMCO invests, such as RTX (formerly known as Raytheon), General Dynamics Corporation, and Lockheed Martin, are also the weapons manufacturing companies that produce the white phosphorus munitions used against Palestinians. These companies are not only profiting from the genocide of Palestinians but are directly responsible. The UT System has direct investments in international war crimes. If UTIMCO seeks to divest from sanctioned companies or companies at high risk for sanctions, it should stop funding these weapons manufacturers. There is precedent for the university system participating in ethical divestment; in 2018, UTIMCO released a statement pledging to expand its sanctions compliance procedure. This includes not only U.S.-sanctioned companies but companies that "could be sanctioned in the future" as well.

Protect Palestinian/Pro-Palestinian student voices – The administration at the University of Texas at Austin needs to protect pro-Palestinian student speech. In February of 2022, the Dean of Students interfered with student legislative processes and deemed the resolution in support of Palestinian students' rights on campus a “non-university related matter”. The UT Administration has actively censored speech in support of Palestinian students. The University should protect Palestinian/Pro-Palestinian students from Zionist attacks. In response to Pro-Palestine protests on college campuses, The Biden administration increased surveillance on college campuses nationwide through partnerships with the Department of Homeland Defense Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. This increase in surveillance will threaten the safety of students who continue to rightfully criticize the state of Israel for committing genocide as they will be incorrectly labeled terrorist sympathizers and antisemitic.

Reinstate Parham Daghighi and Callie Kennedy as Teaching Assistants - As stated in the UT Austin TAs Dismissed from Roles for Message of Support Offered to Palestinian Students, we call for Dean Allen Cole to issue a public apology to both “reassigned” TAs and permit them to resume TA positions in the School of Social Work next semester. This course of action is necessary to make clear to other departments that repression of pro-Palestine students will not be tolerated.

Signed by,

Palestine Solidarity Committee
Asian Desi Pacific Islander American Collective
Queer Trans Black Indigenous People of Color Agency
Latinx Community Affairs
Afrikan American Affairs
Native American and Indigenous Collective
Black Muslims Alliance
Black Students Alliance
Students of East Africa
Texas Law Fellowships
Public Defense Group (UT Law)
Gender Violence Law Caucus
Silk Club
Students For Revolution
Arab Student Association
Texas Pakistani Students Association
Texas Black Lens
Texas Muslim Students’ Association
Alpha Lambda Mu UT Austin
UT Field Education & Development: Undergraduate/Graduate Placements
Underpaid at UT
Law Students for Black Lives
Institute of Latin American Studies Student Association of the University of Texas at Austin
Planning Student Organization
The Reggaeton Dance Club at UT
Party for Socialism and Liberation - Austin
UT QT Muslims
Mu Delta Alpha
Muslim Mental Health Organization
Ahlul Bayt Student Organization
The Black Studies Experience
Black Graduate Student Association
Getting Radical in the South
Native American and Indigenous Peoples Association
African Student Organization
Student Collective for Abolitionist Learning
Revolutionary Marxist Students
Texas NSA
The L.O.V.E. Club
Students Fighting Climate Change
American Muslim Women Physicians Association
Austin Students for a Democratic Society
Food Security Agency
Lotus Project
Drift Magazine
Clocktower Cultural Productions
Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-TX Austin/DFW)
Conquer Information Technology
Street Art Muralist Organization
UT Young Democratic Socialists of America
Trail Ahead Therapy
Women in Medicine