October 12, 2023

Dear UD Community,

Since my message yesterday, I have talked to many members of our community who — like me — are devastated and appalled by the terrorist attacks on Israel and the ongoing loss of life that has taken place in the Middle East.

I want to be sure that our position is very clear: We at the University of Delaware unequivocally condemn the horrific attacks by Hamas terrorists upon Israel that have shaken the world. The atrocities of crime, abduction, hostage-taking and mass murder targeted against Jewish civilians will forever remain a stain on human history. Our community’s foundation of civility and respect has been challenged to an unimaginable extent in light of the antisemitic brutalities that have been committed against innocent victims.

As your president, I wish words could calm the heartache and ease the fear and grief. Unfortunately, we all know that events as complicated and devastating as those taking place in the Middle East right now will continue to evolve. The longstanding humanitarian crisis needs to be acknowledged, and we should not equate the terrorist group Hamas with innocent Palestinian, Muslim and Arab people. The ensuing war-inflicted pain, suffering and death that continues to play out across the region, including Gaza, is heartbreaking for all.

We must remember that, first and foremost, UD is a place of learning. As we engage in difficult conversations about the longstanding conflicts in the Middle East, we should always strive to do so safely, with mutual respect and without bias or judgement. I encourage our students, faculty and staff to continue organizing events to educate and unite our community. Please seize these opportunities not only as individuals, but as members of a true community defined by the freedoms that we treasure so very deeply.

So, my message to you all is to have hope, to support each other, and to realize that the perspectives and feelings we are all experiencing right now — many of which uniquely connect to our personal backgrounds — matter. Please remember this as you walk across campus, sit in your next classroom, share experiences with other members of our community, or simply take time to reflect.


Dennis Assanis

University of Delaware   •   Newark, DE   •   udel.edu/president