Campus & community, Campus news

Campus leaders encourage compassion, respect in time of sorrow

Chancellor Carol Christ sent the following message to the Berkeley campus community Wednesday afternoon.

Like many of you, I am heartbroken by the terrible violence and suffering in Israel and Gaza. The brutal attack by Hamas on Israel, the killing of so many innocent people — including children and the elderly — and the taking of hostages, fill me with grief and dismay. Israel’s subsequent blockade and bombing of the Gaza Strip is causing the loss of yet more innocent lives. This tragedy has a long and complex history, one leading to an appalling result.

I know many members of our community have deep ties to Israel and to Palestine and are experiencing tremendous sorrow and trauma at this time. Your suffering must be particularly acute; we feel compassion for all that you are experiencing.

We realize that this conflict can engender powerful emotions and reactions among members of our community. We urge everyone to review and respect our essential Principles of Community, with particular emphasis on these two tenets:

  • We are committed to ensuring freedom of expression and dialogue that elicits the full spectrum of views held by our varied communities.
  • We respect the differences as well as the commonalities that bring us together and call for civility and respect in our personal interactions.

In the midst of this terrible tragedy, let us act with compassion and respect for one another.

Dania Matos, Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion, and Stephen C. Sutton, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, shared this additional message on Wednesday.

In a commitment to transparency, we want to share what actions we have taken as campus leadership following the horrific violence in Israel and Gaza, recognizing its significant impacts on our campus community. Since the moment we heard the news, we have been in thoughtful conversations about how to provide meaningful support to our campus in a manner that honors the diverse voices and needs while remaining grounded in our principles of community. More than messages of support is the important work of listening and engaging directly with the communities most affected. This has ranged from outreach to and meetings with formal campus organizations to more informal meetings and interactions with students, staff and faculty. We have also engaged with scholars and reviewed correspondence received. As educators, we deeply value the freedom of expression and work to maintain the dignity of all members of our campus community.

In partnership with student leaders and campus partners, we have made efforts to enhance safety at various campus vigils and community events to allow the full expression of our communities’ voices. We will continue to prioritize the well-being and safety of our community.

Please note, these resources are available to our campus community for those needing support:

  • General Student Support: Visit the Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students’ Well-Being resource, which provides more information about holistic wellness resources across campus. To discover additional resources and establish connections, reach out to [email protected].
  • Academic Accommodations Hub: Should you be grappling with the impacts of this event, we encourage you to explore academic flexibility in consultation with your instructors.
  • Mental Health Support:
  • Student Financial Support: Learn more about short-term emergency loans, or contact Cal to Student Central if you need assistance.