Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Dania Matos, Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division Lisa García Bedolla, Interim Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Oliver M. O’Reilly, and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen C. Sutton sent the following message to the campus community Friday:
We would like to acknowledge that this communication of support should have been issued much sooner; for our delay, we apologize to the impacted Afghan community. Our thoughts are with our Afghan community members, their families, friends, and colleagues near and far. There are an estimated 60,000 Afghans in the Bay Area, some of whom have been here for decades and others recently arrived, who contribute significantly to the innovation, economy, and culture that make this region great.
Since the withdrawal of U.S. forces less than a month ago, each day we hear accounts of the significant erosion of human rights and elimination of freedoms established over the past twenty years in Afghanistan, a result that the Afghan community warned was coming.
As an institution of higher education, the situation in Afghanistan reminds us of how important it is to defend human rights globally and our collective mission to continue to advance teaching, research, and public service to tackle the world’s most complex challenges.
The most important thing right now is to take steps to care for yourself and your loved ones. You are not alone. We are here to support you; the university has resources to assist students, staff, and faculty members. If you are an ally or come across a community member who needs care and support, please share the following resources:
We encourage students to connect with the South, South West Asian, & North African (SSWANA) Initiative and the Afghan Student Association and staff to reach out to the MENASA staff organization.
Counselors at University Health Services (UHS) at the Tang Center are available for student concerns: Counseling and Psychological Services website or 510-642-9494 (after-hours counseling line: 855-817-5667). Tang mental health professionals are trained to provide support to individuals from a wide array of identities, including traditionally marginalized or disenfranchised groups. UHS offers culturally competent counselors for South Asian, Southwest Asian, and North African (SSWANA) Students, as well as the Muslim Mental Health Initiative (MMHI) counseling services, a collaboration between UHS and the Bay Area branch of the Khalil Center.
Free confidential counseling and referrals are available to faculty, staff, visiting scholars, and postdocs through Be Well at Work – Employee Assistance. To schedule an appointment with an Employee Assistance counselor, please contact (510) 643-7754 or email employeeassistance@berkeley.
Legal support is available through the Berkeley Law Afghanistan Project.
If you would like to do more, here are a few trusted organizations:
- Women for Women International
- Save the Children
- Islamic Relief USA
- International Rescue Committee
- Human Rights Watch
UC Berkeley is more than a campus, it is a community. We are connected and here to support one another.