Statement on War in the Middle East from UMass Amherst Chancellor Javier Reyes
UMass Amherst Chancellor Javier Reyes sent the following message to the university community on Oct. 10.
Dear Campus Community,
Like so many of you, I have watched with horror and despair as the violence across Israel and the Palestinian territories erupted this weekend. The attack on Israel by Hamas, with the kidnapping and murder of civilians — acts of terror which we vehemently condemn — and the escalation of the conflict to all-out war have led to untold suffering and tremendous loss of Israeli and Palestinian life.
At this challenging moment, our primary focus is to support our students, faculty and staff affected by these tragic events, regardless of their views on the underlying conflict. The effects of this violence reach beyond any border, nationality or identity, and I want to ensure that every member of our community knows that UMass Amherst is here to support them. Over the weekend, my team has been in touch with members of our community studying in the area to ensure their safety and assist in evacuation. We will also make every effort to reach out to international students from the region and students with families in the area to offer our support. Resources for students, faculty and staff are listed below.
I fear that the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding as the violence intensifies will deepen scars across the region and the world. Yet I am hopeful that in our own university community, through civil and respectful dialogue, those individuals who hold opposing views on the causes of the conflict can work toward greater understanding rather than division.
As an institution devoted to teaching, research and scholarship, UMass Amherst has a responsibility to resist the call of polarization. We are committed to building a community of dignity and respect where opposing viewpoints can be shared in a safe, respectful environment.
What we strive to do, as difficult as it may be, is to move forward as a learning community and to listen, to learn, and, through better understanding, to find compassion for those with whom we may deeply disagree. Our university community is drawn from every corner of the globe. We take pride in this, and look to our student, staff and faculty diversity as a means to bridge divides, to seek solutions, and to make the world a better place, even as we cope with momentously tragic events such as the one unfolding before us today.
Chancellor Javier Reyes
- Center for Counseling and Psychological Health
- Dean of Students Office
- The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life
- International Student and Scholar Services
The Employee Counseling and Consultation Office (ECCO) offers free and confidential counseling to staff and faculty. Please reach out if you would like support for yourself or if you want a confidential space to discuss how to offer support to students.