October 11, 2023
Dear members of the Connecticut College community,
I am deeply concerned and saddened by the unforgivable terrorist attack by Hamas and the violence, loss of life, hostage taking and destruction of communities in Israel and Gaza. The acts of violence, especially against civilians and specifically against children, are reprehensible. I hope the Conn community will join me in prayer, in meditation and in support of peace and a just and swift resolution to this conflict.
Horrific moments like these are difficult to imagine, harder to process and remind us to continue our collective work to make Conn and the world around us a more compassionate, supportive and civil community where safety abounds.
Please know we have confirmed that no current students are in harm's way in the region; we are aware of a faculty member who is in Israel with his family and will offer every form of support at our disposal to ensure his safety.
We recognize the suffering and other effects of this complex crisis on our students, faculty and staff who have ties to Israel, Gaza and the region, and we encourage free and open dialogue on the conflict and the issues underlying it. We will soon host opportunities for more conversation. Details about those gatherings will be shared soon. I also welcome any additional suggestions from students, faculty and staff for ways the College, as an institution of higher learning, can carry out our responsibility to educate ourselves about the extraordinarily difficult issues of our times.
Our College support resources are available to students, faculty and staff:
- Rev. Stephanie Haskins, director, Religious and Spiritual Programs: 860-439-2450
- Rabbi Susan Schein, College chaplain, director of Zachs Hillel House: 860-439-5165
- Student Support Specialists: 860-439-2412
- Student Counseling Services: 860-439-4587
Off-site confidential support services are available 24/7:
- For students: TELUS Health app (via telephone, video, chat) with more information available at Counseling Services webpage
- For employees: Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Today, from 12:35 p.m. to 1:05 p.m., Rabbi Schein will lead a gathering of solace and support for Israel at Zachs Hillel House. Tomorrow, Rev. Haskins will lead a prayer vigil for the campus community at noon in Harkness Chapel. And in the coming days, Pastor Haskins and Rabbi Schein will be offering other spaces for support, prayer and community.
Les Wong, Ph.D.