1. Supporting one another during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    June 9, 2021

    To All Members of the Campus Community:

    I first want to acknowledge the tremendous pain and suffering experienced in the University of Michigan community stemming from the violence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The conflict is felt on a deeply personal level for many of our students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and retirees.

    As Chief Diversity Officer Robert Sellers and Vice President for Student Life Martino Harmon shared last month, “this type of suffering cannot be fully expressed in words, and moreover, is not always obvious or even visible to others.”

    We must work to support one another during times of great loss, and I commend the many individuals and groups in our community who are providing support and seeking to create greater understanding of the pain being inflicted around the world and on our campuses.

    We also are seeing increasing instances of threats, intimidation, hateful speech and vandalism directed toward members of the U-M community, including on and near our campus. I condemn these acts. Any actions motivated by anti-Black or anti-Asian racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian bias or any other form of bigotry have no place in the discourse of a great university.

    It’s up to each of us to ensure that our community is safe and welcoming for all. Our Division of Student Life has been working closely with students affected by the conflict and offering support.

    A strength of our university is that members of our community will not always agree with each other. But we also must embrace the highest ideals of community first.

    To fully thrive as a university and confront the most difficult issues we face as a society, we must remain a unified community that believes in peaceful disagreement, free speech, and advancing arguments through productive discourse and respect for our shared humanity.

    Please reach out if you need support. Chief Diversity Officer Sellers and Vice President Harmon shared resources in their message for students, faculty and staff. We all are made better when we hold closely to our values of respect and inclusion – and when we cherish the well-being of each and every member of our community.


    Mark S. Schlissel