Dear students, faculty, and staff,
By now you have read reports about instances of hate speech and even violence across university campuses as our world continues to grapple with the fallout from the war and terror in the Middle East.
Today the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights released a “Dear Colleague” letter addressing incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia on college and university campuses. The letter calls for a renewed urgency to ensure that all schools are free from discrimination “against students and others on your campus—including those who are or are perceived to be Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, Arab, or Palestinian.”
Here at Dartmouth, we are fortunate to be part of a small, tight-knit community that has channeled much of its energy since Oct. 7 into peaceful vigils, a Community Life and Inclusion Intercultural Engagement Conference across cultures and religious communities, and informative academic discussions. Yet even here, we are not immune from antisemitism, Islamophobia, or anti-Arab racism—which, left unaddressed, will undermine the productive exchange of ideas and inclusive sense of community that lie at the heart of our shared intellectual mission. Nor can we overlook the possibility of violence, here on campus or in the Upper Valley. We acknowledge that right now members of our community are in pain, with some feeling alienated and even concerned for their safety.
Our approach must be to work harder than ever, as an institution, a community, and as individuals, to recommit to one another. In addition to the continuing academic discussions that our faculty have so ably led, our Diversity and Equity colleagues across the institution and our Student Affairs teams are working on programming that will give us the tools and practice to continue to undertake productive dialogue about the conflict in the Middle East, one of the most challenging subjects of our time. As always, our goal is to lift up the free and open exchange of ideas and underscore that threats and intimidation are not part of productive dialogue, they are in direct opposition. You will hear more about these opportunities soon.
We must recognize the responsibility each of us carries to help shape the community to which we aspire. Where you can choose between reaching out or turning away, we ask each of you to make an extra effort to support one another. Where you have a choice between directing anger at one another or extending empathy, we ask you to take a moment to consider what others may be thinking and experiencing. Individual acts of generosity and a willingness to have open and honest conversations do not take away from passionate activism or rigorous inquiry; on the contrary, they help build the healthy foundation from which each of us can become participants and leaders in a better future, applying our much-needed talents in the Dartmouth way.
We will continue to listen, understand, and learn from each of you. We implore you to do the same.
Alexis Abramson, Dean of Thayer School of Engineering
Scott C. Brown, Dean of the College
Duane Compton, Dean of the Geisel School of Medicine
Shontay Delalue, Senior Vice President, Senior Diversity Officer
Jon Kull ’88, Dean of the Guarini School
Matthew Slaughter, Dean of the Tuck School of Business
Elizabeth F. Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences