President Papazian’s message re: Chabad of Poway

Dear Campus Community,

I was horrified on Saturday to learn about yet another hate-filled shooting, this time at Chabad of Poway, a synagogue north of San Diego. One life was senselessly lost, three more were injured and countless families, friends and others will be forever scarred for what has happened to their loved ones.

The San Jose State community and I share in the pain, grief, despair and sadness felt by the victims of this tragedy. We also share in the resolve of communities in the face of such hate.

Once again, it was a place of worship that was targeted. Saturday was the last day of Passover, making an already cowardly and violent act even more deplorable.

The Poway synagogue attack comes in the aftermath of the Sri Lanka explosions at Christian churches on Easter Sunday, mass shootings in New Zealand mosques in March, suspicious fires several weeks ago in three historically black churches in Louisiana and a mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in October. Even closer to home, a federal hate crime investigation has been opened after an individual drove his car into a crowd of people he thought were of the Muslim faith.

It is indescribably appalling when places of worship are targeted because of hate. Communities of faith everywhere can feel particularly vulnerable, fearful and angry in their houses of worship but also in their everyday lives in school and at work.

Whenever we witness another hate-based incident, it is important to understand and acknowledge that some students, faculty and staff here at San Jose State may experience heightened levels of fear, anxiety, grief and other human emotions.

San Jose State holds dear the values of  acceptance, respect, decency, safety, civility and cultural sensitivity. Tragic events that took place in Poway and other communities uphold none of those values.

The best resources for ensuring that we remain a safe, caring, and inclusive community are our fellow Spartans, our friends and our families. Please take care of one another.

Also, 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 always, the well-being and safety of all of our students, faculty and staff are important priorities. Although we have no indications of any threats, if you witness or receive threats to safety, please contact University Police at 408-924-2222 or dial 911.

San Jose State is one of most diverse campus communities in the nation, and we are proud of that distinction. As we enter the final weeks of the semester, please join with me in affirming our shared values of inclusion, equity, fairness and acceptance during this difficult time.


Dr. Mary A. Papazian