Violence in the Middle East - Support and Resources for SJSU Community

10 October 2023

Dear SJSU community,

The past several days have brought unthinkable horror not only to the people living in and near Israel and Gaza, but also to the friends, loved ones and communities living around the world, including here in San José. The scores of people who have died, sustained injuries or been taken hostage is both shocking and profoundly saddening, and early indications are that things may get worse before they get better.  

While many have strong feelings about the long history of struggle in the Middle East, no matter one’s perspective, the violence and terror taking place halfway around the world reverberate here. As a university community, we have emphasized that we stand against hate, violence, and oppression. We seek peace, community and the right to live without fear and with hope for the future.

I am deeply concerned about the pain being felt by many of you on our campus, and would like to reassure you that resources are available to help you navigate the devastating impacts of the recent events in the Middle East. You are not alone, and this is your community. 

Our colleagues in Student Affairs have already reached out to at least a half-dozen student groups representing our affected communities, and will continue proactively providing any needed assistance and support. Additionally, counseling services are available for anyone on our campus who needs them, and can be found by contacting Counseling and Psychological Services or SJSU Cares, while employees are encouraged to contact the Employee Assistance Program. Colleagues in our community are also a resource to you, including Hillel of Silicon Valley, Jewish Silicon Valley, Jewish Family and Children Services, Palestinian American Coalition of San Francisco, and Muslim Community Association.  

Our entire Spartan community is invited to join a vigil organized by the Jewish Staff and Faculty Association, being held tomorrow, Oct. 11, at 4:30 pm at the Tower Lawn Fountain, where we can come together in solidarity and hope for peace. 

You should also feel empowered to reach out to friends, classmates or instructors to check in on them and share your feelings and concerns. As we engage one another and try to understand the unfolding events, I encourage us to do so with civility and openness. Our choice to denounce hate also relies on our capacity to hear opposing viewpoints. You may find that fellow Spartans may have a full range of connections to Israel and/or Palestine and hold a multiplicity of views on what is happening. Your safety in our community is also of utmost importance: report bias incidents and/or discrimination here.  

To each and every member of our Spartan community: I am with you in your pain, fear and sorrow during this difficult time. In addition to campus leaders and services, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) is here for you as we work together to maintain a peaceful, safe, and supportive atmosphere, both on campus and off.



Dawn Lee

Interim Chief Diversity Officer