Our 14th most-read article of 2023.

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Originally published October 23, 2023.

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Dear Students,

We are saddened by the tremendous loss of life in many of the places you’ve read about—you know the ones, we don’t need to name them here.

The cost of human suffering by all the people who were affected by the thing that has happened in the place where it has happened is difficult to comprehend. Our hearts are with the people, all the people, but particularly the specific people you are thinking of right now when you read this statement.

At our University, we support values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we take a firm stance against things that are bad, like all the things you also believe are bad—for instance, violence. Violence is never the answer, but also, sometimes it is? Let’s table that.

When we are faced with such tragic events, it is natural for students to want a response from the University. We understand that some of you may even be feeling human emotions—like sadness, or anger, or sleepy—but we remind you that the University is a safe space for pushing those emotions away and focusing on your studies. Or football.

If you feel the need to engage in prayer or reflection, please feel free to do so in a non-denominational way that does not involve campus resources. Do remember that we are with you in this difficult time (though we are not technically on your side [but we are also not not on your side]).

Regardless of your personal opinions on the complexity of historical, political, and social factors surrounding a conflict that has roots in centuries of pain and strife, a conflict where every potential outcome is devastating and where even the best-intentioned public statement or online satirical letter might only serve to compound the layers and layers of generational and personal trauma suffered by real, actual human beings, the important thing to remember is that the University is here for you and has proven so by doing the greatest thing a University can do: making a public statement via email.

In closing, let us reiterate that we care for your well-being, and we value your thoughts, preferably voiced off campus.

The University

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Read an interview with author Tiffany C. Li about this piece here.