By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

The Israel – Palestine War: Perspectives on Campus

Oct. 7 2023 marks the advent of another bout of intense conflict in the ongoing war between Palestine and Israel. Since then, our country has seen an eruption of protests and heated debate. One place that has been affected nationally by this war is college campuses; students from Harvard and various other colleges are facing serious backlash after proclaiming bold stances on the war. College campuses are more politically active than ever. But how has this war affected CWU?

Students at CWU have taken a bold and unwavering stance on this war. Since the very beginning of the war, students on our campus have organized demonstrations, informational workshops and released statements, all in support of Palestine. While on our campus, nothing has been done to show support for Israel. 

One organization on campus that has seemingly taken the most initiative in showing its solidarity for Palestine is the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán or M.E.Ch.A). M.E.Ch.A is an organization that is based in the United States and is dedicated to Chicano unity and empowerment through political organization. 

M.E.Ch.A has hosted demonstrations, informational workshops, passed out informational flyers and they also released a statement via their Instagram @mechadecwu on Nov. 11 showing their support for the Palestinian people. Stating, “M.E.Ch.A de CWU stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people. We also strongly condemn the war crimes committed by the Israeli regime against the civilian population of Gaza through their active genocide of the Palestinian people and colonization of their land.”

M.E.Ch.A’s statement on Israel-Palestine. Courtesy @mechadecwu/Instagram


First-year students, Mariana Bravo and Kiko Gomez are the political action coordinators for M.E.Ch.A. While the decision to show solidarity with Palestine was a communal effort by M.E.Ch.A’s board, Gomez and Bravo played a key role, given their positions.

Even though M.E.Ch.A has no connection to Palestine, Gomez and Bravo still found it necessary to show M.E.Ch.A’s position on the ongoing war. “We [M.E.Ch.A] are probably one of the most politically active organizations on campus and we do serve the Hispanic community a lot… to a certain extent, we felt like our main mission was getting a little bit lost… It took kind of like a group conversation to kind of refocus what we wanted to do with the situation because it is something that is affecting millions of people across the world, ” Bravo said. “This is an issue we feel needs the most exposure possible,” they added.

M.E.Ch.A wanted to ensure Palestinian students felt supported on campus.“We do have Palestinian students on campus, and we just wanted to make sure they felt welcome and feel safe here which is why we started doing all of our demonstrations and workshops… It’s been an ongoing war and genocide” Gomez said.

Photo Courtesy Kiko Gomez

“We’re [M.E.Ch.A] there for everyone and we understand that the situation happening in Palestine is so easy to get misconstrued with Western media outlets… and we understand that it puts a lot of people in vulnerable positions… with our platform, we’ve been trying to aim to keep people educated…” Bravo added.

Bravo and Gomez both mutually expressed their agreement that CWU can do more to help with the situation. “M.E.Ch.A just wants to make sure that the campus is aware of what’s going on, which is why we did our demonstrations…it is just kind of being tossed in the air [by CWU] and then forgotten about,” Gomez said. 

While our students have taken a hard stance on the ongoing war, CWU’s official statement takes a neutral stance. CWU President Wohlpart’s email was released in Nov. 2023, calling for peace and condemning violence. This was then followed up with a few resources available for students to access if needed. 

Bravo said in reaction to CWU’s official statement, “I feel like it doesn’t amount to the things that have happened within the last over 100 days. It definitely minimizes it completely. It doesn’t allow the voices of the voiceless to be amplified in the way that they need to be… It makes it seem like it’s something that they can push under a bunch of things… even though it’s not because there’s massive amounts of loss. It’s cultural cleansing. People’s lives are being completely destroyed as if they meant nothing.”

“[CWU’s official statement] doesn’t truly represent the amount of heartbreak and tragedy that’s been happening, especially given that all the people of Palestine, they were somebody, they’re all people. They were people’s mothers, fathers, doctors, children that didn’t even get to live” added Bravo. 

M.E.Ch.A has resources to help in their Linktree through their Instagram @mechadecwu. 

As made known by Gomez and Bravo, M.E.Ch.A holds a very strong stance on the ongoing war. But what do students who have no affiliation to M.E.Ch.A have to say about CWU’s official statement and the general environment on campus since Oct. 7? 

Third- year student, Lucas Pierron* reacts to CWU’s official statement. “I find [CWU’s official statement] canned. I think it’s the safe play, which is par for the course for most public universities,” Pierron said. 

When asked if CWU was adequately handling the issue he said, “There’s always more they can do. They could be more outward.” Pierron added, “As far as I’m aware, they haven’t made any specific moves towards community outreach or financial help.” 

Pierron didn’t seem to notice a shift in the environment here on campus but did mention this, “I think I’ve seen more support, or more outward support [for Palestine], especially on social media.”

The Associated Students of CWU (ASCWU) student government, had written up a statement showing their solidarity with Palestine, but it was never released as the motion to approve the letter on Jan. 22, during the General Assembly meeting, was rejected. The representative of the First Generation Student Organization (FGSO) made a motion to reject the letter from being released on the grounds of the letter not being sensitive to Israeli students. This swayed a majority of the eligible voting members to agree and reject the release of the letter.

In the last 100 days, the death toll has risen to over 20,000 lives. More than 100 hostages are still being held in Gaza as news for a ceasefire has yet to be released.

Student chosen to react to CWU’s statement on the war was randomly selected and his stance on the war was not known until interviewed.*

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Observer welcomes feedback and commentary on our stories. We moderate comments to ensure they are relevant and civil, but the content of each comment is the responsibility of its original author. We do not accept comments in languages other than English or which include personal attacks, unprotected speech, vulgarity, promotional material, or statements which are nonsensical or irrelevant to the article being commented upon. You may also consider submitting a letter to the editor or an opinion piece. Click on Contact Us for details.
All The Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *