Students and faculty mourn Palestinian deaths at vigil

NYU’s Student Government Assembly and Students for Justice in Palestine held a vigil on Thursday to honor Palestinian lives lost in an Israeli military raid.


Samson Tu

The Student Government Assembly and NYU Students for Justice in Palestine hosted a vigil on Feb. 9 for the lives lost in the Israel-Palestine conflict. (Samson Tu for WSN)

Yezen Saadah, Deputy News Editor

More than 30 students gathered in the Grand Hall of the Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life on Thursday, Feb. 9 to mourn the Palestinians killed during an Israeli military raid on a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. The event was organized by NYU’s student government and Students for Justice in Palestine, a student organization on campus.

Deanna Tayeh, an NYU first-year who attended the vigil, said that they think it’s important to express support for the Palestinian community and ensure that these situations do not go unrecognized. 

“It just goes to show that no matter where we are in the world, Palestinian presence will be felt,” Tayeh said. “We saw that not everyone here was Palestinian or Middle Eastern — they’re just here to show solidarity for innocent people being murdered.”

Sarah Abdalla, the student senator for global humanitarian issues and one of the organizers of the event, noted that the vigil was not held on the steps of the Kimmel Center for University Life, where most NYU-sponsored vigils take place. Abdalla said that the request to hold the vigil on the Kimmel steps — which she said was submitted by the student government over a week before the vigil — was dismissed by university faculty, who claimed that it would cause safety concerns.

“The Palestinian community on campus and people who support the Palestinian cause have noticed a lack of support from the university,” Abdalla said. “This should have happened ages ago, and having conversations about Palestine shouldn’t be taboo on campus.”

Speaking at the event, Abdalla said that she hopes the university will hold more events for the Palestinian community and show more support in the future.

Haya Erakat, a sophomore who also spoke at the vigil, said that she thinks NYU should close its Tel Aviv study away site, which some students have said they feel discouraged from applying to because of an Israeli law.

“Palestinians are people with dreams to become astronauts, swim with dolphins and go hiking,” Erakat said. “If hearing about massacres still being committed today in 2023 so innocent civilians, boys and girls, women and men who only long for freedom and life don’t move you, then it’s no wonder that impunity is enjoyed by the oppressor.”

Contact Yezen Saadah at [email protected].