Amid colorfully dressed students sunbathing and doing homework on the HUB lawn Friday, one group stood out by lying silently on the grass dressed all in black.
Students from Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) staged a "dead-in" on the HUB-Robeson Center lawn Friday to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre.
The Sabra and Shatila massacre occurred in September 1982 by Lebanese Christian militiamen against Palestinian refugee camps, according to British Broadcast Corporation News. Hundreds, possibly thousands were killed. The degree to which the Israeli military was involved is also a source of controversy.
A sign near the demonstrators read "Remember the 700-3,500 innocent Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian men, women and children who were brutally murdered in the massacres of Sabra and Shatila 25 years ago. R.I.P."
"To many people, this is a very controversial issue ... we feel that Palestinians should have their voices heard," Isaac Kassis (senior-biology and neuroscience) said while waving a Palestinian flag.
SJP deliberately kept the facts about the massacre vague on the sign, said Hana Issa (senior-broadcast journalism), the president of SJP.
"We didn't want to over-educate or throw out facts. If you really want to know, look it up and decide for yourself what happened," she said. "We can't just throw out our own version. That's not fair."
Issa said she got the idea for the dead-in from a similar event at DePaul University in Chicago commemorating 50 years of occupancy. The only requirement was that students dress all in black and play dead, she said.
"We didn't want to do anything too radical or too much," she said. "We just wanted to commemorate the lives that were lost."
Shaun Mir (senior-film and video) said he came out to play dead for "as long as I can."
"I've always heard about the massacre, and I'm happy that SJP came out and wanted to bring awareness to that," he said.
Mir said the protest got students' attention by being visually dramatic.
"I think this campus, as many people who come here, not enough people partake in any type of student protest, and it's important," he said.
No matter what the facts are concerning the massacre, raising awareness is still important, Issa said.
"It doesn't really matter who did what, it just matters that it happened," she said, "and we can't let it happen again."