Supporting each other and standing against antisemitism and Islamophobia
The following message was sent to Haverford students, faculty, and staff on Thursday, November 9.
This is a heart- and soul-wrenching time for many of us at Haverford and for Fords across the world.
Today I reach out to state unequivocally that antisemitism is not and will not be tolerated at Haverford. I write this to you in multiple contexts. The scourge of antisemitism is acutely on the rise on other college and university campuses and elsewhere in the U.S. Many among our Jewish students, staff, and faculty feel afraid and intensely vulnerable because of the war, antisemitism on other campuses, their concern that they will experience antisemitic acts here, and tensions on our own campus these past weeks. And tomorrow and Friday, November 9 and 10, mark the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht.
I also reach out to state unequivocally that Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of hate-based discrimination are not and will not be tolerated at Haverford. Many among our Palestinian, Muslim, and Arab students feel an eroding sense of belonging, as well as fear, despondency, and desperation as the war continues. Some of these students and their supporters have chosen to organize events and demonstrations on campus with the intent of raising awareness. My colleagues and I have been working with students to invite respectful dialogue with peers, faculty, staff, and one another.
In these contexts, students who are deeply impacted by the war continue to focus on their education, to the best of their abilities, and with outstanding faculty and staff support. Despite challenges, many students, staff, and faculty are also actively engaged in dialogue across considerable differences of thought, perspective, knowledge, and experience. I have been in some of these conversations. Many among our staff and faculty, too, need support. I am deeply grateful to each of you for investing in the educational, emotional, psychological, social, and holistic well-being of others during this trying time.
Members of our community have worked hard and well, together and individually, to offer all manner of support and care to students and one another. During these first four weeks of war in Gaza, we have focused our attention on direct support and care for Jewish, Muslim, Palestinian, Israeli, Arab, and other students most directly and indirectly impacted. That focus of care, concern, and support continues, and I thank all those who have dedicated their attention to this.
For generations, Haverford students have set and practiced community standards via the Honor Code. In addition, the College also maintains a number of policies intended to safeguard individual rights and delineate responsibilities to each other when any of us speaks (literally or figuratively). These include:
- Expressive Freedom and Responsibility: Haverford promotes fundamental academic freedoms of inquiry and expression within the continuity of a residential learning community.
- Posters: flyers or similar signs on campus must meet specific criteria that foster engagement and dialogue or they will be removed.
- Harassment and Discrimination: targeting individuals or groups is strictly prohibited. If you think you may be witnessing or personally experiencing antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, or any other form of hate-based discrimination, you can send a report via this Incident Reporting Form for acts committed by students, or contact our EEO officers for reports concerning faculty or staff.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind you about resources available to provide support.
Students should be in touch with:
- advising deans about navigating academic and social matters;
- faculty teaching your courses or serving as major advisors for academic guidance;
- CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) counselors about concerns you have about your life, including a wide range of topics that upset, frighten, confuse, thrill, sadden, or anger you;
- religious and spiritual life advisors, including:
- wsulliva [at] haverford.edu (Walter Hjelt Sullivan), Director of Quaker Affairs
- selkhashab [at] gmail.com (Sameena Elkhashab), Muslim Student Association
- egurevit [at] haverford.edu (Rabbi Eli Gurevitz), Bi-Co Chabad Student Group
- hamza.shaikh [at] gmail.com (Hamza Shaikh), Muslim Student Association
- jwinaker [at] phillyhillel.org (Rabbi Jeremy Winaker), Philly Hillel Network
- other student life and SDEA (Student Diversity, Equity, and Access) staff for emotional support; and
- Campus Safety for concerns about personal safety. Any member of the community can also use our reporting form to alert appropriate staff members to issues of concern.
Faculty and staff may wish to contact the College’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for access to a variety of helpful resources including 24/7 mental health counselors.
Dean of the College John McKnight, Vice President for Institutional Equity and Access Nikki Young, and other faculty and staff are also working together to plan intentional spaces for students, faculty, and staff in the weeks ahead and welcome your ideas and suggestions about such convenings. We also welcome the sharing of learning resources such as the guide compiled by our Libraries.
Haverford’s values of peace, justice, and seeing the light in every person undergird our daily and enduring mission to provide an incomparable liberal arts education. The College’s Quaker-rooted commitment to peace is an inherent condemnation of all acts of violence. This commitment is also a call to recognize those whose families, neighbors, and communities have experienced unspeakable violence and must live with and through the ravages of war. May Haverford’s values invite us into a community of empathy and care.