Dear Students and Colleagues,

In light of the escalating war between Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas that began last weekend with Hamas’ brutal attack on Israel, many of us are experiencing a range of emotions – anger, horror, fear, and heartbreak. Scenes of suffering and devastation in Israel and Gaza have brought deep pain to all of us, including those who are grieving the loss of loved ones and those struggling to reconcile conflicting perspectives.

As a diverse and inclusive academic community, we must remain united in upholding our foundational principles:

  • We are all equal in dignity and deserve respect as human beings;

  • Each of us has the right to express our thoughts and ideas, provided we do not intimidate, harass, or threaten others;

  • We become collaborative problem-solvers by listening to one another, challenging one another, and learning from one another. Our diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives is our greatest strength;

  • Every one of us has the right to be true to ourselves without fearing bias, discrimination, intimidation, or harm;

  • And we care for classmates and colleagues in need.

As world events heighten emotions and heated political debate, it is our responsibility to reaffirm these core principles by supporting one another and maintaining a welcoming environment free from hate and harassment.

Regrettably, yesterday evening shortly before the start of Shabbat, which should provide our Jewish friends and colleagues with a sanctuary of rest and comfort, someone within our community defaced a women's bathroom in one of our academic buildings with anti-Semitic graffiti. This cowardly and reprehensible act violates our core principles and the code of conduct by which we all agree to abide as members of this community. Hateful acts like this diminish our sense of safety and security.

We therefore must strengthen our resolve to maintain a campus environment where every member of our community feels valued and respected, and no one, including our Jewish and Muslim students and colleagues, feels unsafe or threatened. 

That resolve will be tested in the coming days and weeks. While we are powerless to prevent more bloodshed and tragedy in Israel and Gaza, we can turn our anger, frustration, and heartache into a resolve to protect one another, to learn from one another, and care for one another. 


John Fry

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