Students at Princeton University built a wall on campus last month to show their support for American immigrants from Palestine and Mexico. The wall was built on McCosh Walk – a popular spot that is centrally located on Princeton University’s campus – and is meant to represent the West Bank barrier and the United States-Mexico border. The United States-Mexico border has become a controversial political issue in the United States just as the West Bank barrier, which separates Israel and Palestine, has become an area of steady conversation in both Israel and Palestine.
The wall at Princeton University was collaborated on and built by the Princeton Committee on Palestine (PCP) and the DREAM Team, which are both popular student-run groups. The wall stands eight feet tall and 20 feet wide and has quotes, statistics and facts written on it that support the causes of Palestinian and Mexican immigrants. Princeton students built the wall because they believe that many Mexicans and Palestinians who have migrated to the United States are voiceless and are treated like second-class citizens, especially during the current United States presidential race. Several students were quoted as saying that any time Mexican or Palestinian immigrants are brought up in a political context the words that are used to describe them are dehumanizing and in a negative context.
Approximately 20 Princeton students helped with the design, planning and building of the wall. The idea to build the wall was taken from other major college’s “apartheid walls,” including The University of Southern California (USC), Ohio State University, Rutgers University, and Loyola University of Maryland. Some of the walls on other college campuses would regularly travel from one university campus to the next so that as many students as possible could see it. The original idea for the Princeton University wall was to ship an already existing wall from a west coast university campus to Princeton’s campus. However, the cost and logistics of having the wall travel across the country led the students to decide instead to build a brand new wall. The wall cost $500, which was paid for by the university’s arts center and several language departments.
One student whose poetry was featured on the wall commented that both the U.S.-Mexico border and the West Bank barrier are examples of governments and their bureaucracies disregarding the human suffering that is taking place on the other side of the walls.
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