A group of Towson University students hope a rally scheduled for Tuesday afternoon shows the campus is united in the face of negative publicity brought on by the actions of a group calling itself the White Student Union.
"When we say we bleed black and gold, this isn’t a lie," senior Jon Smith, a city native, said. "This is what we do, and we stand up for what we believe in."
Smith is a founding member of the organizing group Be The Change, which was formed last year in response to the White Student Union, a pro-white race student group.
Towson University officials have repeatedly said the WSU organization is not a sanctioned, on-campus group, but individuals representing the group have made headlines in recent weeks.
During the Conservative Political Action Conference last month, WSU member Scott Terry advocated for segregation during a panel on diversity. University officials said last week that Terry has never been enrolled at Towson.
Additionally, White Student Union leader Matthew Heimbach, announced last week that the group is planning campus patrols.
Smith said the unity rally is meant to show Towson has a diverse and tolerant campus.
“We want to show Towson and the world that this is a place for everyone" Smith said. "We aren’t going to let one person or a few people paint an inaccurate picture of our community.”
The event, which begins at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, will begin at the tiger statue in front of Stephens Hall. Participants will then walk to Freedom Square on campus.
Towson's Student Government Association is co-hosting the event, and Smith said TU President Maravene Loeschke, Vice President of Student Affairs Deb Moriarty and Associate Vice President for Student Life Teri Hall all plan to attend the rally.
Smith said numerous student groups, area churches, and even alumni have reached out to him and also plan to attend the event.
“The first time there was a issue, it was the cultural groups that came together in response," student life official Hall said in a statement. "Now, it’s more students from every different possible student organization. There is more to Towson than the sound bites that have been heard lately. We want everyone to know that our campus is a kind, open and civil community and our students are some of the best on any campus in the state.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Carrie Wells contributed to this story.