"Don't Send Them Cookies. Send Them Home."
That was just one of many posters members of Towson State University's Progressive Student Union hung outside the student union building yesterday to protest the United States' military presence in the Persian Gulf.
On a windy, 40-degree day, about 10 members of the organization set up a table in front of the union for about three hours. Students entering the building were asked to sign a petition opposing the use of force against Iraq.
Copies of the petition, which many students did stop and sign, are to be sent to President George Bush, and senators Barbara Mikulski and Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., said Mary Diffen, co-president of the organization.
"We're the people who will be sent over there," said Michelle Albert, a 20-year-old junior. "We're the ones who are going to have to fight over oil. Some of Towson's students are already over there now."
As students stuffed newspaper into garbage bags labeled "your brother" or "your sister" to represent the body bags likely to come back in the event of war, Albert explained the group's position to students who stopped by the table to see what was going on.
One student, Maricar Resurreccion, engaged in a lively and animated discussion with Albert. While Resurreccion, 18, did not sign the petition, she did agree to get involved with the organization.
"I may not necessarily agree with what they have to say, but I'll listen to what they have to say," Resurreccion said. "Who knows. Maybe I'm closing my mind to certain things. They may have some valid points." Still, Resurreccion said she thinks the United States has a purpose in the Middle East.
"I don't want anyone to die, period," Resurreccion said. "But I do believe we should be down there. I feel it's our duty."
Resurreccion, whose 23-year-old brother is stationed in the Middle East, said the most important thing Americans can do is to support the men and women stationed oversees.
Yesterday's event was the third in a series of things this week to draw attention to the students' cause.
On Monday, Towson students held a press conference with Goucher College, Johns Hopkins and some local high school students in which they issued a joint statement. The group of students, who call themselves the Baltimore Student Coalition Against U.S. Intervention in the Middle East, asked for the immediate withdrawal of all troops from the Middle East.
Tomorrow, the coalition is to hold street corner demonstrations.