Maintaining a Welcoming, Inclusive Community

Friday, October 13, 2023

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

Over the last several days, I have heard from many of you about the challenges you are experiencing—personally and professionally—given the ongoing violence and escalating conflict in the Middle East.

Emotions are running high on our campus, in our community, across the nation and around the globe. Many of you, and those around you, are dealing with uncertainty, fear and grief and loss among your families, communities and homelands. I expect the coming days and weeks will be especially difficult. I ask that as these horrific events continue to unfold, we, as educators, scholars, practitioners and mentors, continue to be sensitive and generous to one another, particularly with our students, many of whom hail from directly impacted communities.

As a learning community that prides itself on being welcoming and inclusive, I encourage you to be mindful of how you engage your students, as many of them may be feeling especially vulnerable, distraught or concerned for their safety and well-being. Some may even be reactive and volatile as they work to process the events occurring overseas. Please be generous and supportive wherever possible. Some of your students may need specific supports that are beyond what you feel comfortable offering. Please do not hesitate to refer them to the resources and services available, including, for example:

I am also acutely aware that many of you may also be experiencing fear, grief and anger. There are resources available to you as well to support you both inside and outside the classroom. They include:

  • Carebridge: Trained clinicians are available 24 hours a day by calling 800.437.0911.
  • Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE): Faculty seeking support for navigating these challenging times in the classroom or for guidance on maintaining productive discourse or addressing a specific student interaction can contact the CTLE team at
  • Community Standards: If you have a concern about an alleged violation of the Student Conduct Code, you can reach Community Standards at 315.443.3728, via email at or using the Incident Reporting Form.
  • STOP Bias and Hate Initiative: The University has a robust reporting system designed to empower individuals to alert appropriate officials to incidents that may be motivated by bias. The STOP Bias and Hate Initiative webpage outlines resources to report and receive support for such incidents. You may also elect to report a bias-motivated incident directly to the Department of Public Safety via the options on the Report a Crime webpage.

From an academic perspective, I am grateful to be among faculty scholars with such tremendous expertise on the Middle East, as well as conflict and reconciliation more broadly. It’s at times like this that leaning into our ongoing commitment to academic excellence, the free exchange of ideas and a constructive public discourse is so critical. If you are so inclined, I urge you to consider participating in an academic panel being hosted by our friends in the Maxwell School. Details of the event are:

  • The Daniel Patrick Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs’ Middle Eastern Studies Program will host a webinar titled “The Israel-Hamas War: What Is Happening and What Might Happen Next?” on Tuesday, Oct. 17, from noon to 1:30 p.m. ET. Interested students, faculty and staff at Syracuse University must register in advance. To learn more and to register, please review the announcement by visiting SU News.

I recognize we are all experiencing these horrific events in deeply personal and unique ways. I hope you will continue to reach out for support and extend kindness, empathy and understanding to those who are suffering during this extraordinarily difficult time.

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly or any other member of our team.


Gretchen Ritter
Vice Chancellor, Provost and Chief Academic Officer