Support for Our Community

Monday, October 16, 2023

Dear Syracuse University Community:

It has been 10 days since Hamas crossed into Israel and conducted a series of horrific terror attacks targeting innocent civilians. As last week unfolded, we learned more about the barbaric nature of these atrocities. We are also witnessing a developing humanitarian crisis in Gaza where innocent civilians are facing death and displacement, and dire conditions are growing worse.

Half a world away here in Central New York, I recognize the uncertainty and suffering felt by members of our Syracuse University community. I have heard from many of you—students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents—who come from varied cultures and faith traditions. Some in our community have deep roots in the impacted region. The pain and sadness are profound. A week ago, I asked our community to extend kindness, respect, and compassion to one another in this moment. I am grateful for how the people who make up this university have responded. Peaceful vigils remembering those lost; academic exploration into the history and depth of this long and complex conflict; a commitment to understanding through constructive discourse; and offering grace to others with whom we may disagree—that is what a great university looks like in times of crisis and suffering. I am proud of how this community has responded.

Sadly, divisions are deepening in the world around us. There has been a sharp increase in antisemitic and Islamophobic threats and violence nationwide and around the globe, creating a heightened sense of vulnerability and uncertainty. Please know that we take the security of our campus seriously. We are taking additional action to keep our community safe. For that reason, among other things, you may note an elevated presence of Department of Public Safety personnel on and around our campus and facilities.

We know what we believe in at Syracuse. We reject antisemitism. We reject Islamophobia. We condemn terrorism. We believe the pursuit of knowledge and respect and true understanding of others is the best antidote to the hatred that can divide and destroy us.

Personal attacks and divisive rhetoric are roadblocks to this understanding. I ask that we remain committed to supporting those who are suffering, extending kindness to those who need it, and engaging one another with respect. If you need additional support, please reach out. There are several Syracuse University resources ready to provide help and assistance.

University leaders will continue to communicate with our community as appropriate. Until then, I pray for those lost and missing, for those who are suffering, and for a swift and peaceful resolution to this conflict.


Chancellor Kent Syverud