Dear campus community,
I am writing to you today as the violence between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza continues.
Both peoples – Israelis and Palestinians – have a right to a secure and peaceful life. It is hard for many of us in the U.S. to imagine the suffering and horror that is happening on both sides with Israeli cities constantly bombarded by rockets from Gaza, and Gaza being bombarded by Israeli airstrikes. Lives, homes, businesses, and worlds are destroyed. Within Israel, tensions between Jews and Arabs who have lived together, many in mixed cities, have become explosive.
For a significant number of our students, staff, and faculty who have families and friends living in Israel or in Gaza, the worry, grief, and anger has been around the clock and constant, with little hope for an end or pause in violence and deadly force.
As the rhetoric and political criticism rises in the media, and particularly in political discourses on campuses, we need to watch for when legitimate criticism becomes mixed with anti-Semitism, scapegoating and hatred. And as well, when legitimate criticism becomes mixed with Islamophobia and hatred. Both of these threads have a distinct and specific history of weaving themselves into personal attacks and rendering entire groups of people into well worn decades-old stereotypes legitimizing hatred and discriminatory behavior. We cannot abide by that.
As much as public universities offer a space for criticism of all kinds, they can also offer opportunities for dialogue and reaching out across divides. Many in Israel and here in the U.S., Jews and Arabs, have been involved in initiatives that offer hope for a better future for all. It is my hope and plan in the future for our office to host a dialogue for those who wish to engage in similar initiatives on campus.
As we enter finals week, please know that the concerns we have for the well-being of our students, faculty and staff are shared by our Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and by our campus leadership. It is my hope that we may continue to exercise grace and provide support as we do our work whether we are students, staff, faculty or administrators. Please reach out if you see someone from our community who may be in need of support during these difficult times as we continue many of our interactions remotely.
As always, SJSU has resources available for our students and for our employees should members of the Spartan community experience emotional distress or trauma. Detailed information on our resources is listed below.
Chief Diversity Officer
If you have a mental health emergency and need immediate assistance please contact Counseling and Psychological Services. There is always a staff member available to assist you. Please call 408-924-5910 or visit us at sjsu.edu/wellness. All of our services are being offered online through confidential video or phone sessions.
For after-hours emergencies, please call 911. If you live on campus, please call campus police at 408-924-2222. You may also call our main number 408-924-5910 after hours and press 4 to connect with the after-hours crisis service.
Santa Clara County Suicide & Crisis Line is also available at 855-278-4204 (Toll-free) (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This service is also available 24/7. In addition, you may send a text for help: Text HOME to 741741. The Crisis Call Center will respond 24/7/365.
International students who need assistance regarding restrictions on travel and other issues can find resources from SJSU’s International Students and Scholars Services.
Counseling for Faculty and Staff
Visit LifeMatters® online for more information. Password: SPARTANS
To speak to someone from LifeMatters® confidentially, call 800-367-7474.
Santa Clara County Suicide & Crisis Line is also available at 855-278-4204 (Toll-free) (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This service is also available 24/7.
In addition, you may send a text for help: Text HOME to 741741. The Crisis Call Center will respond 24/7/365.