A small group of protesters carrying signs with anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-Woman and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric convened at Towson University on April 18. TU students, including several from Towson Hillel, showed up to counter-protest.
Jodi Teitelman, a junior at TU who is active in Jewish life on campus, said she initially heard about the protesting group through friends on social media.
“I was actually going to Hillel after class and a group of us decided to go and see what was going on,” she said. “When we got there, there were people holding up these absurd signs.”
The group, which gathered in front of the Center for the Arts building at the corner of Osler and Cross Campus Drives, held signs that read “Islam is a lie”, “whores deserve STDs” and a warning to “homos” and “money lover$,” among others, to “Obey Jesus or Hellfire.”
The Towson University Police Department was not able to escort the protesters off campus because the protesters were on public property.
TU senior Jessica Teich, also a member of Hillel, said in an email that she initially went to the protest out of “pure curiosity,” but stayed, “because that sort of hate is something that is not allowed on our campus. We have been amazingly fortunate not to have so many instances that require the slogan #NotatTU but this was one of the best times I have heard it.”
During the course of the protest, students from Hillel offered police officers cold water bottles.
Later that evening, Towson University president Kim Schatzel released a statement which read, in part, “Earlier today an external group of demonstrators that call themselves the ‘Bible Believers’ visited our campus wishing to use public space to spread their racist, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-woman messages.
“While Towson University recognizes this group’s right to free speech under the constitution and its legal right to occupy designated public use space on our campus, their messages are at odds with our relentless effort toward a more diverse and inclusive campus that supports every TU community member to thrive, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or levels of ableness.
“I am proud of our students’ and our community’s positive response.”
The Baltimore Sun reported that a TU sophomore saw a friend get punched in the face and that TU spokesman Sean Welsh confirmed one man and no TU students were arrested during the protests.