Dear UWM Colleagues and Students,
I enter the conversation about the current Israeli-Hamas conflict with trepidation and few answers. There are thousands of years of deep discord and many before us who’ve devoted their lives, their best thinking and every answer imaginable toward peaceful outcomes in this region, with but temporary effect. Knowing this conflict is longstanding and that recent events, first in Israel and now in Gaza, will be protracted and will lead to more bloodshed, I also want to be reflective, thoughtful and respectful of those harmed and in harm’s way. These are matters of life and death, existential for many, and warrant deep contemplation and forethought. The violence against children and other innocent people, the shocking brutality unleashed, and the significant escalation of hostilities must be recognized as one of the great tragedies of modern times.
I speak now for two fundamental reasons: First, silence from this institution’s leadership can be misinterpreted as not caring or not acting. Neither of these is true, as I will describe. Second, while I’m soberly realistic about impact, it is my intent to be helpful by underscoring our values, outlining expected behaviors and describing our campus’ efforts toward safety, support and peace. If assurances, safety and paths toward peace are reinforced, this effort will be worthwhile. I want to focus on the things that are in our control.
We are uniquely positioned with an expressed mission aimed at research and access, and we have a deep commitment to our students, employees and community’s health, safety and well-being. As the largest public research university in the region, with national recognition in research and community engagement, our Guiding Values have influence and impact. Those values include, among other things:
- A caring, compassionate and collegial community characterized by mutual respect and safety.
- Stewardship of resources that promote sustainability, prosperity and equity for all in the local and global communities.
- Diversity in all its definitions, including who we are, how we think and what we do.
- Ethical behavior, based on integrity, accountability and responsibility.
These Guiding Values are not merely aspirational but describe the expected behaviors of all on our campus and communities. With 23,000 students and 3,400 employees spread across several campuses in the region and with more than 200,000 alumni globally, we are a force for good in a world that desperately needs mutual respect and safety, global equity, appreciation of diversity and ethical behavior.
In support of these values, over the past week our Dean of Students and other offices have had numerous visits with Jewish and Palestinian students on campus, providing counsel and support. These offices have worked closely with community organizations and groups and have provided connections to many resources. Students rallied for Palestinian freedom in Spaights Plaza, and others gathered at Hillel to grieve with one another. UWM is their home and your home, and you have the right to speak up on your campus. I hope you continue to keep that freedom of speech sacred for your colleagues and classmates in the days to come.
Meanwhile, our UWM Police Department has been communicating with those offices and community faith organizations to provide increased awareness, communication about safety practices and threats, and stepped-up patrols in areas of potential risk. There have also been coordinated efforts with others in county and federal law enforcement to increase safety measures. Resources are available to all our students and employees, and you should not hesitate to use them. Likewise, on our campuses’ and community’s behalf, many are at work to provide greater safeguards and assurances.
Looking ahead, we are planning educational forums for employees, students and the community. We seek to enhance our understanding and knowledge of the longstanding conflicts in the Middle East and create space for constructive dialogue. Again, consistent with our Guiding Values, we will promote behaviors and actions aimed at prosperity for all and driving toward the escalation of peace.
None of us has all the answers, but together, let us amplify our desire for discourse as scholars and global citizens in the immediate future. Let us together stand for peaceful resolution, rooted in humanity and profound respect, acknowledging the differences in hearts and minds. Programs in peace studies, social equity, mediation and conflict resolution must be upheld, advanced and brought to a greater scale. Please join us in a quest for peace and longevity – in Israel, Palestine and across the world.
My family and I continue to pray for a peaceful resolution of these conflicts. UWM will continue to be a place where everyone is welcome.
Here are some available UWM resources. Please share with others.
The Support U Website has a list of various health, financial and other resources and information. If you aren’t sure where to start, or what resource to share with students, this is a great go-to link.
Medical and Counseling Services
- The UWM Student Health and Wellness Center offers medical and mental health services and resources for students.
- Let’s Talk: If you are unsure about visiting a counselor or therapist, but you’d like to talk to someone about a matter, sign up for a Let’s Talk group session with a UWM counselor or therapist.
- YOU@UWM: A hub for self-care tips, guidance and campus resources to help keep your academics, well-being and social connections on track. The online portal provides a space to explore UWM resources and services, 24/7.
- Crisis and After-Hours Care: If you seek immediate assistance related to a mental health matter for yourself or another student, call or text the help lines on the crisis and consultation webpage.
Dean of Students Office
The Dean of Students Office is here if you need help — for yourself or for a friend — and aren’t sure where to go, or have questions. Please contact us:
Employee Assistance Program
The UWM Employee Assistance Program offers employees and their families confidential resources and assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Phone: 833-539-7285
- Website: https://sowi.mylifeexpert.com/
Mark A. Mone, PhD