Dear Students and Colleagues,
The statement from a small group of faculty titled “Franklin & Marshall Faculty Statement in Solidarity with Palestine,” which was published in the independent student-run newspaper, The College Reporter, does not reflect the views of the College or our faculty as a whole. Right now, there are people in our community near and far, and particularly in our Jewish community, who are angry, hurt, and confused by the original statement.
F&M’s role as an institution of higher education must always be to promote opportunities for learning, discussion, and connection in an environment that prizes diversity of thought and cultivates a sense of belonging for all. Individuals are entitled to their opinions. Healthy discourse and even passionate disagreement about important issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, are absolutely consistent with the discussions that contribute to an academic culture of inquiry and greater understanding on college campuses.
We reject anti-Semitism along with all other forms of racism, discrimination, and intolerance. Our educational mission depends upon affirming the inherent dignity of every individual. This means we must treat one another with respect, especially when we disagree. As individuals and as an institution, we must be willing to lean into challenging conversations – to listen, as well as speak our minds – and to be aware of the difference between intent and impact.
Several months ago, in the wake of a surge in national and international anti-Semitism, leaders from F&M’s Klehr Center for Jewish Life, Chabad, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Office of Faith and Meaning sent a message of support and hope to our Jewish community and our community as a whole. It closed with, “All of F&M stands together in solidarity, condemning anti-Semitism, racism and hate in all its forms, and we thank you for your support during these troubled times. As we move towards honoring, respecting, and living in an inclusive environment, we welcome you to our community of support, compassion and justice.” This remains our community’s unequivocal stance.
F&M is proud to have Hillel at the Klehr Center for Jewish Life and the F&M Chabad Club at the Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center. The College will be working with the Klehr Center to offer programs and discussions for our campus community to engage with these challenging topics in the academic year, and to ensure that when our students return to campus they have a safe and supportive environment.
Barbara K. Altmann
Provost and Dean of the Faculty
Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion