Support for Our Community around Saturday's Hostage-Taking in Texas

Jan. 17, 2022

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Our community is outraged by the hostage-taking that occurred at a synagogue in Texas on Jan. 15, and I know we are all relieved that those taken hostage are now free and safe.

This incident is a particular affront to us at Brandeis because of our historic connection to the American Jewish community, which has suffered increasing antisemitism in the last few years. As a university that has always been open to students, faculty, and staff of diverse backgrounds, we are deeply disturbed that the U.S. Muslim community is already being targeted with hate. I am always concerned about the safety and well-being of all in our community, and at this time I am particularly aware of the great concern our Jewish and Muslim community members are feeling presently.

Additionally, many news outlets have reported that the perpetrator committed this despicable act in support of freeing Aafia Siddiqui, who is in prison in Texas. While Siddiqui received a PhD here more than two decades ago, it goes without saying that Brandeis has no connection to the attack in Texas, and condemns it in the strongest possible terms. The crimes for which Siddiqui was convicted took place outside the U.S. years after she studied here.

I would also like to share the following information about security on our campus:

Community members are welcome to reach out to Brandeis Hillel as well as Muslim staff at the the Center for Spiritual Life; the Intercultural Center also offers a supportive environment for students. Additionally, I encourage students in need of clinical care to avail themselves of Brandeis’ resources for support through the Brandeis Counseling Center. Brandeis employees can seek assistance from the Employee Assistance Program. Faculty, staff, and students can also visit the Support at Brandeis website to review the comprehensive list of services available to everyone. Our Public Safety website includes information and resources related to safety and crime prevention. All of these resources are available whether you are on or away from our campus.

Tomorrow we honor the memory of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who dedicated his life to the pursuit of justice through nonviolence — a sharp contrast to what we have experienced this weekend. In one of his sermons, Dr. King notably said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." Let us embrace and live by his words and example.