Board statement on Israel and the Palestinian territories

The recent violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories has deeply affected us all, and as a university, we wish to express our profound dismay at these events and condemn all acts of violence and continuous human rights violations leading to civilian casualties. Our sympathies go out to everyone affected and concerned about the well-being of loved ones.

Emotions such as fear and anger, prompted by the violence and ongoing threat, are very understandable. People want to raise awareness for the horrors that are happening through demonstrations, petitions, debates and social media posts. Some reach out to the university to ask for attention or demanding the university to take an unambiguous position in the conflict.

We understand these calls. As the Executive Board of our diverse community, we see it as our primary responsibility to facilitate and guarantee an open and safe dialogue. Consequently, we are cautious when it comes to taking a stand on conflicts in the world, however horrendous they are.

We remain deeply committed to cultivating an environment within the UM community where everyone can express their opinions and engage in constructive dialogue. UM wants to be a safe place where our community can freely express their own views, form opinions, and where there is room for dialogue. We recognise that discussions about this particular conflict cause discomfort and pain. It is essential to emphasise that expressions of hatred, violence, intolerance or calls that otherwise cross the boundaries of open society, cannot be tolerated. Anti-Semitism, Muslim discrimination or other forms of discrimination or exclusion have no place within our institution. We encourage peaceful gatherings within the walls of this university that adhere to our house rules. Again, there will be differences in interpretation of what should and should not be accepted. For reports or complaints about transgressive behaviour we refer to the Concerns & Complaints Point (for employees) and the Complaints Service Point (for students).

All the suffering caused by the conflict currently makes a free exchange of views difficult between those who identify with any of the groups suffering from the violence, we are all too aware. Within our community, however, we also hear that there is a need to provide a platform for dialogue to allow our community to further develop opinions and share thoughts. Such discussion should also touch on the university's role and responsibility speaking out in ongoing conflicts. We are currently preparing for such a dialogue.

For those grappling with psychological or practical challenges, we want to emphasise that support options are available at UM for both students and employees.
Support for students,
Support for staff. Employees can of course also turn to their managers.

The situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories has a long, complex history and causes worldwide division and polarization. Let’s try, within our own community, to ensure that this tragic situation does not divide us, but rather let us connect with each other and be there for each other.

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