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Honoring Our Commitments to Each Other and Our Community

October 20, 2023

The below message was sent to all undergraduate, graduate, and postbaccalaureate students on Oct. 20, 2023

To our student community:

The horrific terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians and the subsequent and ongoing terrible loss of life and suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians in Israel and Gaza have been devastating to members of our community. In conjunction with these attacks and their aftermath, social media vitriol and hate-related incidents have escalated in the U.S., causing many students on our campus to feel fearful and isolated.  As we return to classes from fall break, this seems an important moment to articulate the College’s mission and reiterate our aspiration to be a community where students feel that they are embraced and can thrive.

 “Equity and inclusion serve as the engine for excellence and innovation. A commitment to racial justice and to equity across all aspects of diversity propels our students, faculty, and staff to reflect upon and work to build fair, open and welcoming institutional structures, values, and culture.”

- From BMC Mission Statement 

As we aspire to live our mission, and as administrators who have direct responsibility for student well-being, we think it essential to be clear about the following:

  • We condemn antisemitism and Islamophobia. We condemn written, visual, oral, and physical attacks in all forms.  There is no place on campus for hate speech, and it constitutes a violation of our Honor Code. 
  • As an institution of learning, we support the right to hold differing perspectives.  And we ask each of us to be mindful of the humanity and the lived experiences that others bring to the table --- even when, or especially when --- we disagree.  We should not make assumptions about one another or the positions we do or do not hold, especially based on social, religious, or political identities.
  • We aspire to be a community that cares for one another and sees the pain and struggles of all campus members.  We aspire to be empathetic to one another and to treat others with respect. We want students to understand that the College is here to support them during this time and always. We ask students to seek the support they need, recognizing that this will look different for each student.
  • We recognize that some community members welcome opportunities to engage in the current moment through intellectual exchange, and others cannot do that at this time because of the emotional pain they are experiencing. 
  • We also know that some students want to deepen their understanding of the events in the Middle East, and we will provide those opportunities for learning on campus and through the resources of our Tri-Co consortium.

We are planning another vigil to occur during the next few weeks to offer space for reflection and support. We also plan to provide smaller gatherings for affinity groups to receive additional assistance. The Graduate Student Association, sponsored by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, welcomes all graduate students to a peer support gathering on Friday, October 27th.

Again, we remind students of various campus resources:

Staff members at The Impact Center for Community, Equity, and Understanding

•         A.T. Ortíz, Associate Dean for Equity, Inclusion, & Community Life,   

•         Rabbi Nora Woods, Interfaith Chaplain,

•         Candice Love, Director of The Impact Center,

•         Joi Dallas, Assistant Dean for Intercultural Engagement,

•         Patricia Lausch, Assistant Dean of International Student & Scholar Advising,

The Counseling Center

The Counseling Center is located in The Well, and students can schedule an appointment by calling 610-526-7360 or in person through the receptionist. Students can also be seen without an appointment Monday - Friday during the hours of 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

We will also offer additional support for our Jewish and Muslim students who have been most affected.

  • The Impact Center will invite our Jewish and Muslim students to separate open hours to offer support, guidance, and comfort.
  • We will conduct regular outreach to impacted students.

We thank all of you who are working hard to support each other and whose actions help create a community of compassion, safety, and growth.



Kim Cassidy

Karlene Burrell-McRae
Dean of the Undergraduate College

Xuemei May Cheng
Dean of Graduate Studies

Janet Shapiro
Dean of the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research

Tomiko Jenkins
Dean of Student Life

A.T. Ortíz
Associate Dean for Equity, Inclusion, and Community Life

Glenn Cummings
Associate Dean and Director of Health Professions Advising

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