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Remembering Our Values During Difficult Times

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Jeremy Haefner

Announcement  •

November 15, 2023 

Dear DU community members, 

Late last week, several DU students, alumni, and guests of students gathered to demonstrate support for Palestine, as a part of a national call to action. We are very clear in supporting the freedom of our community members to express themselves and are also clear that the University condemns the horrific terrorist attack by Hamas on October 7. We disavow labeling the brutal attack as “heroic resistance,” as occurred during the demonstration. There is nothing heroic in the brutal slaughter that took place.  

Reports of incidents of hate and intolerance in response to the conflict in the Middle East are occurring on college campuses across the country including antisemitic, Islamophobic, and other egregious behavior. Let me say unequivocally: We do not support hate. What we say and do, our actions and our choices, reflect our values, and we must express ourselves in a manner that prioritizes civil discourse. 

We each have our own personal feelings and perspectives. As an institution, we strive to maintain neutrality to support the free speech of the community, and yet sometimes we must respond when speech challenges our core values. I fervently believe we must keep the bounds of neutrality to the greatest extent possible to protect the freedom of expression, thought pluralism, and academic freedom that is foundational to our role in society, yet speak up ourselves when we feel something has taken place that does not align to our community values. That said, it is important to note that our policies prohibit speech that incites violence and acts of discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics, including antisemitism and Islamophobia. 

If you or someone you know experiences antisemitism, Islamophobia, or any form of discrimination, please report the incident to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX (EOIX), as they have processes for responding to such reports and can offer supportive measures to those impacted by discrimination and harassment. DU employees, except those who are designated confidential resources, if you are aware of such an incident, you are required to report it to EOIX.  

You can expect another message from me over the winter break, detailing a number of resources we are readying on this topic in preparation for the start of the winter term. 

I have heard from many community members who are in deep pain right now. It is important to me that you know now – and always – that the DU community is here to support you. We do this by maintaining that, even through our differences, we place empathy and civility above all else. It is simply how we must be because of who we are and want to be in the years to come.  


Jeremy Haefner