Supporting Our Community

Friday, Nov. 17, 2023

Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:

As many of us depart campus for the holiday break to spend time with family and loved ones, I am mindful that the last six weeks have brought enormous pain, fear and grief to so many. I do not have the words to adequately address what each individual is experiencing. No message I could send will provide comfort or shed any light on why thousands of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians have lost their lives.

What I can do as the leader of this university is continue to recognize that our words matter. They matter to our Israeli and Jewish community who, according to the Anti-Defamation League, are living through the sharpest increase in antisemitism in a generation. They matter to our Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim students, faculty, and staff who are reporting a frightening level of Islamophobia and anti-Arab hate. This is what I want our community to know: Syracuse University will not tolerate hate-motivated language or conduct that incites fear, harassment, or violence against any person or group. No matter who the hate is coming from or who it is directed at, hate of any kind has no place in our community.

Times of crisis can bring out the worst in people. I am comforted that at Syracuse University, we are still in many ways witnessing the very best. Take, for example, our students and the tremendous maturity and inclusiveness they have displayed. They have organized peaceful vigils, participated in interfaith service opportunities, and discussed their differences in respectful, constructive ways. They have done all of this while civil discourse has eroded at many of our nation’s institutions and public squares.

As we seek moments of rest and peace in our personal lives next week, I ask everyone to reflect on how difficult it will be for those in our community experiencing unimaginable loss. I urge all in the Orange community to join me in continuing to extend empathy, compassion, and kindness to those among us suffering the most.


Chancellor Kent Syverud