AUSTIN, Texas - Hundreds of UT students from different backgrounds walked out of class on Thursday afternoon to stand by students of Palestinian descent.
Light showers didn't stop students from gathering at Gregory Gym on UT campus on Thursday afternoon to hear speakers from the Palestine Solidarity Committee. After the speeches, students walked towards the UT Tower hoping to get the attention of UT administrators. Students say that they don't feel safe on campus.
"We are here as a unified student body to send a message loud and clear. We will not stay silent, and we will not stand down until the university has properly addressed the growing concerns of its student population," said one speaker at the protest.
- Supporters of Israel gather outside Texas State Capitol
- Photos: Thousands marched in support of Palestine all over the world Saturday
- Thousands expected to attend pro-Palestine march in DC for ceasefire in Israel-Hamas war
Emotions were high at the walkout. Several students who support Palestine are dealing with grief as their families were killed during the Israel-Hamas war.
"This is my nine-year-old cousin. She wanted to be a doctor when she grew up. She wanted to help the people of Gaza," said a UT student. "This is my uncle. He was a baker. He baked for his entire life."
UT students who support Israel were nearby saying "free the hostages" in reference to the people being held by Hamas.
Students who support Palestine linked arms blocking Jewish students chanting a Palestinian slogan that refers to genocide.
FOX 7 Austin reached out to the Jewish and Israeli community in Austin on their concerns about the students' safety.
"It's unbelievable. After the whole shocking and horrible thing that we went through this past month, that a university as big as UT will allow such a thing," Dorit Heldenberg, with Bring Them Home Now, said.
The university sent out this letter to students in October:
"These events are connected to our University, beyond just the stark contrast between Hamas’s actions and our University’s values. They have raised concern about the safety and well-being of members of our community, and as I wrote last week, we will do all we can to protect and support all of our faculty, staff and students, and especially those most vulnerable, including our Jewish and Palestinian community members. I have zero tolerance for the antisemitic actions targeting our Jewish community or the hate-filled actions targeting our Palestinian and Muslim communities. Speech is protected on our campus, violence is not. We will be active in identifying any perpetrator and will strictly enforce our rules for safe behavior toward others. We are one UT community, and we will fiercely protect it."