Supporting Our Community During Times of Crisis
October 9, 2023
To Our Stony Brook Community,
Like most of you, as I have watched news reports from Israel and Gaza the past several days, I have been distressed by the increasing violence, loss of life and suffering. In particular, I have been disturbed by the indiscriminate attacks on civilians and the taking of hostages, including children and the elderly. Over this past weekend, we also learned of the significant loss of life following devastating earthquakes in Afghanistan.
Stony Brook University has confirmed there are no individuals traveling on university-affiliated business or taking part in student programs in these regions. Nevertheless, many members of our Stony Brook community, including international students and scholars and others with family members, loved ones, and friends in these regions, are deeply impacted by these events.
The campus community should feel free to reach out for emotional and other support. The Division of Student Affairs is contacting our international students who may be impacted to offer assistance. Stony Brook’s Student Support Team is available to assist all students. Faculty, staff, and healthcare employees who wish to talk with someone are encouraged to reach out to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
As troubling global events continue to unfold, there will likely be discussion and intense debate among members of the Stony Brook community. And that is as it should be: We want our campus to be engaged with the significant issues of our time. Yet we also know that passions can also be ignited.
So it is important that we embrace Stony Brook’s deeply held institutional values of caring, civility, and respect to help us prioritize the well-being of all members of our university community. As thoughtful and responsible educators and learners, we must remain vigilant about the role every one of us plays in addressing and combating hatred, intolerance, divisiveness, and prejudice. There will be moments when we may not agree with one another. But treating one another with care, dignity, and understanding in all of our interactions ensures our campus culture remains grounded in respect, and leads to conversations that illuminate rather than antagonize.
As a large, dynamic public university, our backgrounds, perspectives, and interests are richly diverse. While our experiences vary widely, we are united by our shared purpose in using knowledge to make a difference in our diverse global world. Let us all join together in reaffirming the most basic principles of humanity and respect for life.