There have been some tense moments recently on the Towson University campus as the potential formation of a White Student Union has garnered national attention and is raising questions about racial equality.
A Towson University student task force held a special forum Wednesday night on campus at Susquehanna Terrace to get input on the formation of the group, and students on both sides of the issue got to sound off. Some asked clarification questions, while others denounced it completely, and a small minority supported it.
Organizers of the White Student Union said it will be an advocacy group, a source of pride and a safe haven for white students who have been discriminated against. They said the group will be open to anyone, regardless of their race, as long as they support the union’s mission.
“Most of this controversy is being generated by people who I think are scared that white students are finally shaking this trend and actually being proud of who they are and encouraging pride in their culture,” said White Student Union coordinator Matthew Heimbach.
But others were vehemently against it.
“What is white history? What is white culture? Because if you look back over history, nothing positive has come out of white history or white culture, because you’ve done nothing good,” one black student said at the meeting.
The proposed White Student Union has fulfilled all the requirements to become a student group, with the exception of having a faculty advisor. Organizers said they hope to have that resolved by the end of next month.
During the day Wednesday, another student group called Love Is Louder said it’s trying to do its part to keep the peace in reaction to what students said are hate-filled messages that have been spoken and written around campus. They believe they’ve found a way to speak love instead.
At Freedom Square, in the middle of the Towson campus, students turned to paint-soaked sponges to try and blot out hate.
“We are writing hate words on this board and then we are trying to give people the opportunity to take out their frustration by throwing paint on it. So, it’s a kind of visual stamping out of hate,” student Paulomi Dholakia said.
[Editor’s Note: A video report of this story is available here.]