A week after a student group calling itself the White Student Union announced plans to begin nighttime patrols of Towson University campus in Maryland to fend off "black predators," hundreds of students and faculty rallied for peace on Tuesday afternoon, WBAL reports.
The rally was organized by a coalition of student groups, including Be The Change, the Black Student Union, the Student Government Association, the International Student Association and Greek student organizations, the student newspaper The Towerlight reports.
The WSU was not explicitly mentioned at the rally, but WMAR reports it was clear the rally was in response to the white supremacist group.
Towson senior Matthew Heimbach started the controversial group in the fall of 2012 and claims to have around 50 members. The group garnered national media attention in March when WSU members defended the institution of slavery at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Towson Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Deb Moriarty reminded students in a campus-wide email last week that the school still does not officially recognize the White Student Union as a student club:
It is important for the campus community to know that your concerns regarding activities of the "White Student Union" which has been in the news again, are shared by the University Administration. We continue to take every available opportunity to clarify that there is no established or recognized "White Student Union" (WSU) on Towson University's campus. While a Towson University student attempted to form a recognized group in the fall, it failed to meet the university's requirements for gaining recognition (including securing a faculty advisor).
Moriarty also pledged immediate action by the university to any reports of "verified threats" made against students, and said in regard to the WSU's planned nighttime patrols, "[W]e do not encourage the general public to take the law into their own hands."
"Depending on what we want to do, I see secession as one option, where states who if they want to not be part of this multicultural nation, want to preserve their traditional values, they should be allowed to peacefully join together and make their own nation," Heimbach said.
Check out some of the scenes from the rally posted on social media: