An Important Message on Community Safety

Published On

Fri, 11/03/2023 - 10:26 am

Dear WWU Community,

It has come to my attention that information is circulating about a rally on campus planned for November 8 which includes the slogan “One Solution: Intifada Revolution.”  Intifada is an Arabic word meaning an uprising or rebellion, and it is specifically used to describe several periods of violent attacks against Israeli civilian targets, to protest Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. 

I also realize that for many the phrase “One Solution” in this context echoes the Nazi “Final Solution,” bringing back horrific memories from the past.  Regardless of the intent of this message, the safety of the Jewish members of our community is paramount to me as it should be for everyone who values the safety and belonging of every individual on this campus. 

The university will continue to stand for academic freedom, free speech, and free assembly. At the same time, we also have the right to speak in defense of our values, and to protect our community from any expression that aims to harass, demean, threaten or incite violence.

As you know, led by the university’s Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Jacqueline Hughes, we have been holding a series of conversations on community building and what we need to do to increase the sense of belonging for all members of our campus community.  We will hold the next session in this continuing dialog on November 8, and more details on this event will be shared on Monday.

As I have said repeatedly, it is our number one responsibility to ensure that every member of our community is respected, and that dignity and safety is provided to all.  We must also engage in responsible discussions about complex and challenging topics, seeking justice, respect of all persons, and peace.

I hope that as a university community, we can embody the peaceful and thoughtful exchange of ideas that we wish for the rest of the world.