Office of the President

Creating an Open Dialogue and Our Collective Responsibility

Nov. 11, 2023

Dear Brandeis Community,

Yesterday, a group of students gathered to voice their points of view on the Israel-Hamas war, which they have a right to do on our campus. Brandeis will always be a place for open dialogue: We encourage a diversity of views, and we aspire to create a forum where these views can be freely discussed.

At the same time, our administration’s top priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of our community. This means that we must provide an environment without harassment and intimidation in order to support free expression. This also means that there is a level of responsibility that comes with free speech that was not exercised by many of the protestors yesterday, as the demonstration devolved into the invocation of hate speech. Ultimately, seven people were arrested, the majority of whom were unaffiliated with Brandeis. As part of the university’s standard protocols and procedures, we are reviewing what exactly took place during – and in response to – the protests, so that we can best keep our community members safe.

I know how contentious it feels for many on our campus right now, and that people are hurting. I empathize with all of you who are grappling with the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Many of you have lost loved ones during this war, Palestinian and Israeli alike; I am heartbroken for the loss of life, and I offer my sincere condolences.

Later this week, the university will host events to address the social and emotional welfare of our campus community. We encourage students, faculty, and staff to come to these facilitated sessions, and share their various points of view, in a mutually respectful conversation. We hope that these sessions will serve as a first step in healing; more information will follow in the coming days regarding these opportunities. For those who are struggling, please know that there are existing resources in place as well – I’ve included a list below.

Lastly, as we prepare to come together this coming week in healing, I want to remind all of us of Brandeis’ Principles of Free Speech and Free Expression and our Protest Policy, which call for all of us to respect the rights of others.

While we strongly support the free exchange of ideas, we do not condone hate, the incitement of violence, threats, or harassment, of any kind. Our free speech principles apply to all of our students, no matter their background, their perspectives, or their beliefs. Attacks against any background or belief system are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

I believe Brandeis is unique in how our community members care for one another. I have seen it time and time again on our campus. I hope that we can find common ground during this very difficult time, and move forward in ways that Brandeis is known for, where we are able to accept our differences, and talk about them, in an environment where we can all feel free from harassment.


Ron Liebowitz

Support for students

Students affected by the conflict desiring support services may reach out to the Brandeis Counseling Center whose support is available 24-7, as well as Spiritual Life, including individual campus clergy, the Dean of Students Office, and the International Students and Scholars Office. The Ombuds Office is available to help address difficult interpersonal situations and offers conflict resolution support.

Support for faculty and staff

Brandeis’ Employee Assistance Program offers many options for support, including referrals to counseling. The Ombuds Office can offer help to resolve conflicts that can arise in the workplace. Faculty may also reach out to their deans.