Statement on the Israel-Hamas War from WWU President Sabah Randhawa

Published On

We are saddened by the horrific violence taking place in Israel and Gaza and the atrocities that are being committed, including the senseless loss of civilian life. Even though the conflict is occurring on the other side of the globe, its impacts are being felt locally in our communities. We have many students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other community members who are directly or indirectly impacted by the conflict. Please know that we acknowledge your pain and hurt, and your safety remains paramount to us.

On Tuesday, Western’s Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Jacqueline Hughes, issued a statement on behalf of university leadership acknowledging the struggles of our community members as they deal with this increasingly complicated conflict and encouraging members of this campus community to not only support one another, but also respect differing opinions. As Dr. Hughes' message alluded, our focus here at Western is concern for the physical and emotional safety of all members of our campus community.

At a time when we are seeing increased acts of antisemitism, anti-Muslim and anti-Arab violence, it is more important than ever that we work together to foster a caring, safe and supportive environment for every member of our Western community. We sincerely appreciate the work of several student groups who are coming together to process their grief and find support among and through each other. Services are also being offered through our Counseling & Wellness Center to help students who are struggling to make sense of the current events and their impact. 

We also want to acknowledge and apologize for a student club post that was shared on the ESC Instagram account that absolutely should not have been shared. The Instagram post was immediately removed as soon as our staff became aware of the situation, but unfortunately and regrettably, this did not happen before many inside and outside of our community saw the post.  We want to be clear: a student group has the right to speak for itself, but no group speaks for the University or its leadership.  We will also ensure that all staff understand their responsibilities and obligations when using university resources and communicating on behalf of university offices and departments.

We want to express our appreciation to many of you who have reached out to us during this difficult time. Please know we support you and we are committed to upholding basic human values as core to our work, including safety, and the rights and dignity of all our community members.