A Community Message on the War in the Middle East
The following message was sent to students, faculty, and staff earlier this week.
Dear Bennington Community,
I am writing to express my anguish at the horrific attack on Israel this weekend and the violence and loss of life that is affecting so many in the region.
We are all in pain over the events in Israel and Gaza and the ongoing conflict. We extend our sympathies to those impacted—the people in Israel who have endured terror and uncertainty since the attacks started, especially those who have lost family and friends, and the Palestinian people, their family, and their friends who have and will continue to suffer tremendously.
We are a small campus in Vermont, far from the impacted region, but we are also a global community.
The College has been in touch with members of the Bennington community currently in the region, and we know that there are many others—alumni, family members and friends of students, faculty, and staff—with personal, family, professional, cultural, and religious ties there. My heart goes out to all of those who are directly affected by this conflict and those who will be as it continues. Even those not personally connected are impacted, as the deeply troubling images reach us within minutes.
As a college devoted to teaching and learning, we try to create spaces where people of different opinions can engage in civil conversation. That’s what we do. Education must strengthen understanding and empathy and promote the use of language, dialogue, and justice to further peace in this world. We balance that with our responsibility to speak out against both violence and oppression. Our voices are an important part of the conversation that is emerging.
Please care for yourself and one another as we navigate these difficult times. This is a moment to listen to others, to help where you can, and to engage in conversation that strives for understanding and peace. Kindness and empathy are particularly important during times of war and conflict.
We have resources in place for students, faculty, and staff:
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): CAPS has walk-in hours 12-1 pm, Sunday-Friday (no appointment needed) for students. You can also make an appointment by reaching out to CAPS.
- Academic Support: Members of the Academic Services staff are available to students who are experiencing a disruption to their studies. Please reach out to your Academic Services contact.
- Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is also available to any member of the community. We encourage our community to be mindful of how we regard and respect one another, and remind all that the College never condones anti-semitism, islamophobia, and/or xenophobia. Any concerns or requests for support should be shared to the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-440-4300.
- Staff Support: The College’s Employee Assistance Program offers counseling support. The first three sessions are offered free of charge, and the College will assist staff with accessing ongoing services as needed. Please contact 800-964-3577 to access the EAP program or reach out to Human Resources if you need assistance with securing an appointment with EAP.
You can also reach out to me directly at email@example.com.
We pride ourselves on civil dialogue. Let’s pull together and show each other acts of kindness and empathy and stand together to work toward a more just world.
With gratitude to all of you,