Dear CUNY Community:
We write today to condemn the hatred and bigotry that have gripped the country in recent days. The senseless murder of 11 Jews who were worshiping in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh was the worst anti-Semitic attack in our nation’s history. Those slayings came only days after two African-Americans were randomly murdered while they shopped for groceries in a Louisville suburb, by a white man who had failed to gain entry to a predominantly African-American church. We were also all horrified by the discovery of explosive devices, some found near CUNY campuses, that were sent to national leaders last week.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to the victims and families of these vile crimes, and to all those across the country who have felt wounded by these most un-American acts, the impacts of which extend far beyond the communities directly targeted. The effects of hate-provoked violence are harmful to every person who treasures America’s legacy of pluralism and inclusion, to say nothing of the religious freedoms that are a bedrock principle of our Constitution. It is important that we stand together in defense of these values, and in condemnation of those who would seek to undermine them. Hatred and violence have no place in our society, and it is imperative that we redouble our efforts to combat them.
The City University of New York was established to enable those of every race, religion and background to obtain a high-quality education and the promises of opportunity. The many campuses that comprise our great University are buoyed and enriched by our diversity, vitality, and harmony. Members of CUNY’s Interfaith Council have been asked this fall to work with University and community leaders, pursuing strategies to bridge our differences and find common ground where it exists.
Leaders across CUNY have already stood up and condemned hate; at least one vigil is scheduled, at Queens College, and other responses are being planned. We implore all members of the CUNY community to stand together, at all times but especially now, to sound a chorus of support for one another and for the values we cherish, and in strong condemnation of those who seek to divide us.
William C. Thompson Jr.
Chairperson of The City University of New York Board of Trustees
Vita C. Rabinowitz
Interim Chancellor of The City University of New York