Follow-Up Re: Israel/Gaza
October 10, 2023
Dear Stony Brook Community:
Over the past several days, we have seen the impact of the terrorist attack on Israel directly on our Stony Brook community. A number of students have informed us they will need to leave to return home to Israel. Other members of our community have family members and friends who were killed in the attack or are still unaccounted for, and to them, we express our deepest condolences.
We are profoundly concerned for the lives and safety of these members of our community, and we will be supporting them in every way we can. Stony Brook is a large and diverse institution, and members of our community have roots in both the Israeli and Palestinian communities. I share their concern for the welfare of both communities and wish for an end to the violence and suffering.
But let there be no mistake – and I want to clarify any doubt that may have been left by my previous message – that whatever one’s position on the region’s longstanding conflict, there can be no justification for the horrific acts that have taken place in Israel. We must condemn, in the strongest terms, the acts of mass murder, the large-scale abductions and continued holding of hostages including children and the elderly, and other crimes committed.
For students who need to leave temporarily the Division of Student Affairs is ready to assist. For those who may wish to obtain counseling to help them through what is clearly a difficult time emotionally 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 this war progresses, the coming weeks are likely to be difficult, especially for the many in our community who have close ties to Israel and elsewhere in the region. At Stony Brook, we will be reaching out for guidance and support to our campus Hillel, Islamic Society and Interfaith Center leaders, and to other leaders in our community. I urge all of you to similarly reach out to your colleagues and fellow students, recognizing that among us are people whose sense of security has been deeply shaken, and whose fears for the future have been greatly intensified.
At the same time, as educators and members of a learning community, we must resist those who will seek to exploit these fears and pull us apart. As we continue to engage, formally in the classroom and in our scholarship, and informally in our daily conversations, let’s reaffirm the most basic principles of human dignity and respect for life.