September 30, 2021

Dear UD Community,

Yesterday afternoon, a small number of people from an extremist religious group in Philadelphia staged a demonstration on a city sidewalk adjacent to The Green to draw attention to their divisive ideology. Some members of the UD community heard the demonstrators’ hate speech, which we strongly condemn, and the experience has left many of us shaken.

The University of Delaware’s values are clear: We welcome people of all backgrounds, perspectives and beliefs, and we are committed to building a campus culture of respect and inclusion. This includes those from our LGBTQ community and everyone who may have felt targeted by the demonstrators.

It is also important to remember that the University values freedom of speech, even for those people and ideas that we may find deeply offensive or hateful. The same right that you enjoy to speak your truth is the same right they have to speak theirs. At the demonstration, four students were charged with physically confronting the demonstrators or the police officers assigned to protect the safety and civil rights of everyone involved. We appreciate those students who showed restraint and expressed their outrage in a responsible and civil manner.

This demonstration was certainly disturbing to many of us. Please know that UD has wellbeing services and support available. Our Center for Counseling and Student Development is open and available remotely, and 24/7 mental health support remains available on the UD Helpline at 302-831-1001 for any student in need of someone to talk to.

As we look beyond this incident, we know that universities across the country are often targeted by people who want to provoke a reaction from students and the community, believing that they can divide us. At the University of Delaware, we are a strong community, united by inclusiveness and support for one another.


Dennis Assanis

Fatimah Conley
Interim Chief Diversity Officer

José-Luis Riera
Vice President, Student Life

University of Delaware   •   Newark, DE   •