Dear Members of the Clark Community:
The present situation in the Middle East, which was sparked by the October 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas, is tragic, with thousands of innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives lost and ongoing immeasurable suffering. Here at Clark over the past month, we have remained intently focused on the safety and well-being of our community, grappling with these events emotionally and bringing to bear critical thought and dialogue consistent with our mission.
We have visited with many of our students, faculty, and staff — Jewish, Muslim, and others. We have seen and heard the pain that they are feeling, and we share that pain. We have heard that some members of our community are afraid for their safety and are feeling unwelcome. And we also have received reports and seen recent behavior on our campus that is unacceptable and that runs against our institutional values and principles, including references to all Muslims as terrorists and phrases such as “from the river to the sea” that instill fear among those of the Jewish faith.
Incidents — such as antisemitic slogans scrawled on a wall in Goddard Library, rhetoric amongst community members on social media demonizing our Muslim and Jewish students, and the removal from around our grounds yesterday of posters of captured Israelis held hostage — are examples of conduct that are unacceptable and in response to which we will take action.
Our community standards are built upon a foundation of shared values and expectations, and a commitment to provide an educational environment free of harassment and intimidation. We call on all at Clark to end the use of slogans, tropes, and other actions that contribute to a climate in which people feel unsafe. When we witness threatening expressions, we do and will respond as a University. We are investigating every incident and will pursue each one of them and take necessary action. We have also moved swiftly to remove menacing words when they are found.
To have fidelity with our values as a University, especially during challenging and divisive times, we must interact with each other with understanding, compassion, and humility. We must do our own work to understand the devastating impact of words, even those that we often do not fully understand.
As a guardrail to our community standards, anyone in our community — student, faculty, or staff — who experiences or observes discriminatory behavior is urged to report it immediately through our Bias Incident Reporting system. Every report received is thoroughly reviewed and acted upon as appropriate.
Our ability to live and learn together — as one humanity — takes sustained effort by us all. Despite differences in our community, we must recommit ourselves to our institutional values and obligations to each other: mutual respect and understanding, willingness to reach across divides, embracing difference, and the belief that together we can change our world.
Margo R. Foreman
Vice President and Chief Officer of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Associate Provost and Dean of Students