Dear campus community,
It has been almost a week since the attack on Israel by Hamas. As we reflect on the horrors unfolding, we are drawn to the clarity of the joint statement issued by the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. We couldn’t have said it any better than they did. The entire statement is included at the end of this message. We urge you to read it in its entirety.
As this tragedy unfolds, people all around the world are scared, outraged and often confused about what is happening. Certainly, this includes those in Israel and the Gaza Strip, but also people in the city of Cleveland and right here on our campus. To everyone in our community who is experiencing this pain, please know that CSU wants to support you in any way we can. Here are key resources that are available to you right now:
- Faculty and staff members: For live and immediate assistance, please contact Impact as part of our Employee Assistance Program at (800) 227-6007.
- Students: The CSU Counseling Center is here to support you. They are available for phone consultations 24 hours a day at (216) 687-2277 or for urgent requests (call-in or in-person) weekdays from 1 to 3 p.m.
Perhaps like many of you, one of the first things we did after we learned of the tragic violence last Saturday was to reach out to friends, colleagues and loved ones. We contacted those who we knew would particularly be impacted by what was happening. While we didn’t know quite what to say or which words could ease their fear and sorrow, we both felt that the best comfort we could provide was letting them know that we saw their pain and would not turn away from it.
As university president, Laura has asked leaders across campus to use this same approach at CSU. Vice presidents and other leaders who hold primary responsibility for all areas of our university are working with their teams to focus first and foremost on the care of students and colleagues who have been affected by these events. She has asked senior leaders to model the way by personally connecting with students, faculty and staff members to recognize how this situation is affecting them, to listen and to connect them with the resources they need.
This personal approach when caring for our community will serve us well today and in tough times ahead. Let’s do our best to create a campus where we can share our own stories and listen to the stories of others. We can speak our fears and pose our questions out loud among peers and colleagues. We can each do our personal best to offer aid, whether or not we need aid in return. This approach applies to the many difficult situations that we face: the loss of members of our community, the bigotry and injustice that we may see in our own neighborhoods, and the violent acts that happen around the world every day.
At times, it is not easy to listen, particularly when issues that seem crystal clear to us may seem unclear to someone else. However, it is with an approach to open, free and respectful dialogue that universities persevere. It is how we create new knowledge and come to new understandings with each other. As former U.S. Vice President Hubert Humphrey reminded us years ago, “Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent and debate.”
We firmly believe that universities are most effective when we learn with and learn from each other. We explore ideas, and we interrogate current thinking. We open our minds and sometimes change them based on the evidence we discover in a diversity of thoughts and opinions. This is the stuff of learning.
Our role as a university is to provide an environment where that diversity of thinking fosters engaged, active scholarship. When we use that diversity of knowledge to learn and grow, then we approach our purpose as a university — to advance a better, more just and more peaceful world for all.
May it be so.
Chair, Board of Trustees
Cleveland State University
Laura Bloomberg, PhD
Cleveland State University
October 9, 2023
Today, the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States of America released the following joint statement following their call:
Today, we — President Macron of France, Chancellor Scholz of Germany, Prime Minister Meloni of Italy, Prime Minister Sunak of the United Kingdom, and President Biden of the United States — express our steadfast and united support to the State of Israel, and our unequivocal condemnation of Hamas and its appalling acts of terrorism.
We make clear that the terrorist actions of Hamas have no justification, no legitimacy, and must be universally condemned. There is never any justification for terrorism. In recent days, the world has watched in horror as Hamas terrorists massacred families in their homes, slaughtered over 200 young people enjoying a music festival, and kidnapped elderly women, children, and entire families, who are now being held as hostages.
Our countries will support Israel in its efforts to defend itself and its people against such atrocities. We further emphasize that this is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to seek advantage.
All of us recognize the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, and support equal measures of justice and freedom for Israelis and Palestinians alike. But make no mistake: Hamas does not represent those aspirations, and it offers nothing for the Palestinian people other than more terror and bloodshed.
Over the coming days, we will remain united and coordinated, together as allies, and as common friends of Israel, to ensure Israel is able to defend itself, and to ultimately set the conditions for a peaceful and integrated Middle East region.