Office of the President

May 27, 2021

Caring for our community through the conflict in the Middle East

Ana Mari Cauce

Resources

Bias Reporting Tool

Washington State Human Rights Commission Complaint Form

Let’s Talk (Seattle campus)

Accessing mental health care (Seattle campus students)

Counseling services (UW Tacoma students)

Counseling services (UW Bothell students)

UW CareLink (PEBB benefits eligible employees, their dependents and household members)

The Center for International Relations & Cultural Leadership Exchange (CIRCLE)

Over the last several weeks, we have watched with great sadness and distress as the longstanding tensions and conflict between Israelis and Palestinians have erupted in a resurgence of violence. More than 250 lives were lost, civilians were injured, and homes and hospitals were destroyed in the region, with most of the deaths, injuries and destruction occurring in Gaza. The destruction is such that the U.N. Secretary General and the U.S. Secretary of State described the situation in Gaza as a “humanitarian crisis.”

Our hearts go out to all members of our community who have ties to the region and who may have family, loved ones or friends who were killed or suffered losses. Please remember that you are not alone, and we are here for you now and in the weeks and months ahead. I ask everyone in our UW family to be mindful of how this crisis may be affecting our friends, classmates and colleagues. A tragedy like this can affect us in different and unpredictable ways, so please don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.

We also urge our faculty and instructors to be especially accommodating, in these final two weeks of the quarter, of students who are in pain or have suffered losses due to the conflict. Its reverberations around the world, including hate crimes here in the United States, are damaging and touch many in our community. While we are heartened by the ceasefire, suffering continues, and we hope a non-violent, political solution to the conflict can be found.

As an academic institution, rooted in democratic values, we respect the right of those who are raising their voices or signing petitions in order to affect U.S. or international public opinion and policies. Across our three campuses, we have scholars with considerable expertise on relevant issues, including in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, the American Muslim Research Institute, the Israel Studies program, the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies and the Middle East Center, so that students and our community can better inform themselves about the historic conflict and the longstanding issues behind it.

However, it is absolutely critical that we do not allow our opinions or anger about the conflict to spill over into abusive behavior or harassment towards others because of their ethnicity, nationality, or religion. There have already been anti-Semitic attacks across the U.S. and we condemn these acts in the strongest manner, as we do any acts of harassment or abuse toward Palestinians, Arabs, or Muslims. We have already seen too much hatred around the country, and in our own community, based on race, ethnicity, nationality or religion, gender or LGBTQ+ status. Hate is not the answer and we must stand up against it as individuals and as a community. If you experience or witness such behavior, you can report it through our Bias Reporting Tool or, as necessary, Safe Campus.

As we approach the end of a difficult year, let’s come together to support each other as a community. Together we are stronger.