Information and Resources Regarding Peaceful Encampment Demonstration

Published On

Tue, 05/14/2024 - 9:23 am

Dear Western community, 

As you may be aware, a student encampment, similar to those which have emerged at universities across the country, has been established on Old Main lawn on WWU’s Bellingham campus. I first want to acknowledge the significance of the issues driving the encampment. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza demands urgent attention and thoughtful consideration, and I continue to be deeply moved by the genuine empathy and heartfelt concerns expressed by many of our students, faculty, and staff for the innocent citizens in Gaza, and throughout the region, who are being impacted by the war.   

Peaceful protests and demonstrations play a critical role in nurturing students’ growth and fostering civic engagement, and as a public university, it is our responsibility to allow on-campus demonstrations as long as they adhere to University policies.   

So far, the demonstration at Western has been peaceful, and, given our community’s strong commitment to our foundational values of respect for diversity of thought and opinion – and respect for the rights and dignity of all people – I am hopeful that this, and any demonstration on campus, will remain peaceful.   

A response team has been formed, and we are actively working to bring about constructive dialogue while keeping disruption of daily campus operations to an absolute minimum. Let me be clear: Western will not tolerate discrimination of any kind, including antisemitism or Islamophobia, nor will we allow any harassing behavior, violence, or destruction of property.   

Over the past several weeks, I have been meeting with student leaders from the WWU Arab Student Association, the WWU chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, and Hillel of WWU to discuss their concerns and how the University can better respond to them, and we will continue these important dialogues moving forward.   

We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to ensure that necessary measures are in place to maintain a safe environment for the entire campus community. If any member of our campus community feels unsafe, please do not hesitate to contact WWU University Police at (360) 650-3555. In the event of an emergency, dial 9-1-1 or (360) 650-3911. 

We also encourage our community to make use of our campus support services and other resources:  

Additional information and updates are available at this FAQ website and will be posted to news.wwu.edu. For other inquiries related to the encampment that are not addressed in our FAQs, write to Questions@wwu.edu or leave a voice message at 360-650-3350.  

Let us stay connected, listening, and supporting each other. Wishing you all a peaceful and productive week ahead. 

Kind regards, 
Sabah