Dear TC Community Members:

I want to acknowledge the continued distress and grief that members of our community are feeling in response to the Israel-Hamas war. Many of us are affected as this devastating conflict continues to seep into society and our daily lives – particularly our Jewish, Israeli, Palestinian, Arab and Muslim peers and colleagues.

As I wrote last week, our leadership is committed, above all, to supporting our students, faculty, and staff through this time, and to do all that we can to preserve an inclusive, productive, and safe campus environment for all. This is our priority.

Again, this means that we will not tolerate antisemitism and Islamophobia in our community. Even as we have different experiences and express differing viewpoints – no matter how intensely – I have great faith in our community and our ability to remain true to our values and humanity, and to continue to treat one another with compassion and respect. This was demonstrated by last week’s peaceful demonstration outside of Zankel. 

The College is always evaluating the safety procedures we have in place on campus. Our leadership team has activated a Crisis Team for regular communications, and the Office of Public Safety is in regular, real-time communication with colleagues and partners at Columbia, Barnard, and in the broader community. Through these relationships, TC can draw on additional public safety resources to ensure the protection of our community members should the need arise.

Teachers College also has a wide variety of safety and wellness resources available to support community members – which we will continue to provide in action, in classrooms and in connection with our colleagues and Columbia and Barnard partners. To help ensure that these resources are easy to find, we created a web page, Resources in Challenging Times. Through Columbia Health, for example, students with personal connections to the areas affected by the Israel-Hamas war can access weekly in-person support spaces. There are different spaces dedicated to students with family or friends in Gaza, Lebanon or the West Bank and to students with family or friends in Israel. Other resources offer guidance and procedures on how to report an incident of bias, or who to contact for mental health support.

The past six weeks have tested us all and unfortunately we do not know how long this conflict will continue. I want to assure you that we are committed to supporting our students, faculty and staff members.

I appreciate all that you are doing to look out for one another during this time. I am grateful to be in community with you all and commit to doing all that we can to continue to provide an inclusive, safe campus for everyone, so that you can continue with the critical teaching and learning and work you do to make our world a better place.

Thomas R. Bailey
Teachers College, Columbia University