White Student Union Sparks Protest at Towson University

White Student Union Sparks Protest at Towson University

Reverend "CD" Witherspoon at a rally against the White Student Union. Photo by Bonnie Lane.
Reverend "CD" Witherspoon at a rally against the White Student Union. Photo by Bonnie Lane.

A white student union (WSU) is currently active on Towson’s campus. The group is led by Matthew Heimbach. The goal of the WSU is “to create an avenue for people to participate in political, cultural, educational, and social events to celebrate European heritage," according to its website. I left a voicemail and email request to interview Heimbach. He has not responded to my interview requests.

Unlike other student organizations on campus, the WSU is “not a registered or recognized student group and many individuals aligned with this group are not Towson students,” according to a statement issued by Towson University officials. This group, as seen by many Towson students and broader community members, perpetuates hate and racism.

Two protests were held against the WSU on April 2, 2013. The first was organized by Towson students. They rallied together about what Towson University means to them. That rally was widely broadcast by local mainstream media. A second Community rally was held in front of the Administration Building. I attended that rally.

There was a police officer whom came to greet us. He gave us the run down on where we were allowed to stand so as not to block the sidewalk. Debra Moriarty, the Vice President of Student Affairs on campus met with us and provided fliers with the University’s official perspective on the group. A handful of Towson students joined the community protest.

The Reverend CD Witherspoon kicked off the rally stating that “This WSU will not be tolerated. Racism will not be tolerated here at Towson or anywhere. We will fight against this racist group!”

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Reverend "CD" Witherspoon at a rally against the White Student Union. Photo by Bonnie Lane.

Participants held signs that read, “Ban WSU, WSU=KKK, Ban WSU Patrols and Stop Racism & Hate.”

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Rally against the White Student Union. Photo by Bonnie Lane.

The community rally turned out participants that represent many organizations in Baltimore, including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, The Baltimore People’s Power Assembly, Occupy Baltimore, Unite Here, The Maryland Light Brigade represented here by Mark Patro with panels saying, “End Racism,” the United Workers, and Worker’s World Party. It was a peaceful protest which wasn’t acknowledged by the WSU publicly at the time of the event.

Bonnie Lane writes for  Baltimore's newest street paper, Word on the Street. She has an associate of arts degree in public relations/journalism. Lane is a full-time writer, advocate and activist for the homeless and the 99%.