President Papazian’s message re: Pittsburgh shootings

Dear Campus Community,

This past weekend, we learned of yet another mass shooting, this time in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Eleven people died senselessly, while another six were injured. People around the country, including those of us here at SJSU, feel a sense of anguish and profound sadness as we come to grips with this news.

Such shootings have, tragically, become part of American life. Religious institutions and places of worship, it seems, are often the targets.

I know the entire SJSU community joins me in grief for the family members and friends of those who were lost in Pittsburgh.

Although the killings may have occurred far from us geographically, they strike at the heart of all that we value here at SJSU, including decency, acceptance, and respect for diverse cultures and faiths. At an on-campus vigil last night, we stood in solidarity against the hate that has driven this most recent attack, this time on our Jewish communities.

This horrific incident comes on the heels of other distressing hate-based crimes, including bombs delivered to public officials and media outlets, racially-based shootings in Kentucky, and potential changes in federal policies that are aimed at excluding transgender individuals.

Some of our students, faculty and staff may, understandably, be experiencing a range of emotional and behavioral feelings including grief, fear, anxiety, anger, and isolation.

Please remember that SJSU offers a wide range of services to students and employees who need support, including counseling and psychological services. Support is also available to SJSU staff and employees through our Employee Assistance Program.

As I noted in a recent blog post, we know that our fellow Spartans are the best resource at SJSU for ensuring that we remain a safe, caring, and inclusive community. Please be observant of your peers and colleagues, and look out for one another, especially those who may be the most vulnerable.

As the holidays approach, I hope you will all join me in respect and appreciation for the unique diversity that sets us apart among our nation’s public universities. We must, and we will, continue to affirm our values for inclusion, equity, diversity, and basic safety for all of our campus communities.


Dr. Mary A. Papazian