Letters to the EditorOpinions

Ongoing University Response to Israel-Hamas War

Dear members of the Trail Editorial Board,

  The divisions of Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Institutional Equity and Diversity acknowledge the call the editorial board of the Trail made to the campus community last week to engage in learning and conversation about the Israel and Hamas war, antisemitism, andIslamophobia. 

We would like to share with the campus community some of the collaborations currently underway among our three divisions, as well as our continuing efforts to address the topics listed above. As plans are finalized, we will inform the community and invite everyone’s participation.

Current Plans: Continuing Education and Conversation about the Israel and Palestine War;
Support for Members of the Campus Community
● Speakers and Programming

      o Faculty members, as well as the provost and academic deans, are working to develop academically oriented programs about the Israel/Hamas war, including the potential for visiting speakers both this semester and in the spring. As the details of lectures and other events are worked out, they will be widely promoted to the campus community.

      o The Chaplaincy and the Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity are also pursuing the opportunity to bring a speaker to campus to address Islamophobia.

● Support for Members of our Campus Community

       o We are continuing our partnership with Academic Engagement Network (AEN) to provide support for Jewish students and address antisemitism on campus. AEN leaders conducted workshops and focus groups in the spring 2022 semester and returned to campus this fall, providing additional training for staff and student leaders. Our work with AEN is an ongoing effort, and the partnership will continue for the next year or two.

    o We are working with staff leads in our areas to actively identify organizations that can engage with us in sustained efforts to address Islamophobia. One of those potential partners we might work with is Interfaith America, a national organization focused on building culturally and spiritually inclusive contexts, with whom we have partnered with repeatedly over the past ten years.

    o From the beginning of the war The Chaplaincy and the Institutional Equity and Diversity connected with MENA and JSU to support the needs expressed by these communities’ leadership.

We know more is needed, and will continue to explore needs and opportunities with and for our faculty, staff, and students. We welcome the chance to talk further with you about this important issue, especially as it is affecting members of our campus community.

Sarah Comstock, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Lorna Hernandez Jarvis, Vice President for for Institutional Equity and Diversity
Drew Kerkhoff, Provost