Message to the Campus Community on the Tragedy in Pittsburgh

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Dear Western Community,

As you know, over the weekend, a horrendous act of violence killed 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue. This is the latest in a series of such incidents that have targeted our educational institutions and places of worship, spaces that are expected to be safe places for ALL people.  Our thoughts and condolences go out to the community, families, and law enforcement officers affected by these horrifying events not only in the Pittsburgh area, but in Jewish communities across the country, including here in Bellingham.  If you or someone you know at Western is struggling in the aftermath of these events, please know that counseling consultation services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at or by calling 360-650-3164.

I am deeply saddened by these continuing acts of senseless violence in our society. Racism and violence are becoming alarmingly common parts of our country’s current reality. Recent events, which span shootings and killings in schools to churches and synagogues, place an even greater responsibility on those of us who have been entrusted with stewarding the educational mission of our communities. We must not forget that it is at times like this that education is at its most valuable. The best antiseptic for hatred and ignorance lies in rational inquiry and empathy fostered by personal engagement with diverse human perspectives.  

Acts of racism, hatred and violence violate basic human rights and have no place in a civilized society. Please join me in redoubling our commitment to creating a culture at Western, and in the broader communities we inhabit, which respects the dignity and fundamental humanity of all its members. It is the responsibility of every member of our community to ensure that Western is a caring, supportive and compassionate community, committed to the safety, education and success of our students, staff and faculty.