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President David Lassner shared the following message to the students, faculty and staff of UH’s 10 campuses on Thursday, October 12.

Aloha kakou,

Many of us are watching events of this past week in Israel and Gaza with horror and disbelief. I am proud that our community has not engaged in the hateful behaviors seen in other places and universities and that, sadly, we have previously seen here in our beloved Hawaiʻi.

We know from experience that issues in the Middle East and wars across the world have a direct and devastating impact on our ʻohana. We have students with home addresses in the conflict areas. Many of us may have relatives living in impacted areas. And numerous members of our UH community have visited places that are now in the news daily.

Regardless of anyone’s stance on the longstanding issues in the Middle East, this is a time when we need to not only keep hate and intolerance from our campuses and our classrooms, but also show compassion for one another. We need aloha.

UH campuses have already reached out directly with offers of assistance and support to students we could identify as being from Israel or Palestine. But we know others are hurting. There are many resources available to help those in need during these difficult times. Students and employees may find fellowship with campus or community groups (Hillel, Muslim student groups, mosques, synagogues). And UH counseling resources can be located through student affairs/success units on our campuses. Christian, Jewish and Muslim students and employees may find comfort and fellowship with campus or community groups such as Hillel, Muslim student associations, synagogues, mosques and a variety of Christian and church-based organizations.

UH has a firm commitment to non-discrimination and working together to overcome intolerance. We prohibit harassment based on religion, immigration status, national origin, race, gender, LGBTQ+ status or disability. This commitment has been and remains clear and firm, including with reaffirmation of these core values by our Board of Regents. There is support on every campus, so if you encounter intimidation or discrimination please reach out to campus leadership for help.

We take great pride in the fact that our UH campuses are among the most diverse higher education institutions in the nation, and we all benefit when each of us is safe and secure. Colleges and universities are the very place where we educate our future leaders to understand and appreciate the perspectives of those who are unlike us and may disagree with us. Let this be a time when we embrace that mission and listen to one another.

So as we mourn the tragic casualties across the world, let us also celebrate and support our UH commitment to diversity, tolerance and safety for all. Our commitment to aloha.

Mālama pono,
David Lassner
UH President

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