University News

President Kaplan Extends University’s Condolences Following Synagogue Attack

In a message to the University community, President Kaplan gives his sympathies to the victims killed in Pittsburgh and thanked students, faculty and staff for cultivating an environment on campus that welcomes all faiths and encourages civil discourse across all political perspectives.

October 29, 2018

Steven Kaplan headshot
President Steven Kaplan

Dear Members of the University of New Haven Community,

Like you, I was shocked and saddened by the tragedy that took place on Saturday at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. This unprovoked and senseless act of violence on innocent individuals was, in a word, reprehensible and does not represent the ideals that all of us stand for. On behalf of the entire University of New Haven community, I would like to extend my heartfelt sympathies to all those impacted.

As educated individuals, and with regard to our students and the entire extended University family, all of us play a vital part in helping to recover from such horrific actions. We must continually consider what our role can and should be in ensuring that our own communities – near and far – represent the values of a caring, safe, and empathic society.

In light of the tragedy in Pittsburgh – as well as recent incidents, including a suspected hate crime in Kentucky, the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, and the instances of suspected mail bombs – I felt it was important to take a moment to reinforce the important responsibility we each have as members of the University community and our own neighborhoods around the country and the world to foster mutual understanding, compassion, and inclusiveness.

We take great pride in cultivating a University community that welcomes all faiths and encourages civil discourse across all political perspectives. As members of an institution of higher learning, we have an obligation to reaffirm our commitment to creating an open and welcoming environment for everyone where all of us embrace diversity and the many qualities and characteristics that make us unique.

We should all take note of the summit that took place in Istanbul this weekend as leaders from Turkey, Russia, France, and Germany met as part of an effort to end the war in Syria and resolve the refugee crisis it sparked. This gathering shows the power of cross-cultural exchange and the potential it has to foster peace and understanding.

I would encourage everyone to participate in the programs, workshops, and speakers sponsored by the Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion – and our many other offices and departments on campus – that help ensure we continue to foster a community built – and reinforced – by a shared respect for one another. Soon you will hear more about our Welcome Project, which I hope you will all participate in.

We will never, as a University, tolerate any acts of hate, discrimination, or bias. Anyone who witnesses such an act is encouraged to use the policies we have in place to report such behavior.

As always, I thank all of you for continuing to play a role in enriching our campus community.

Image of Steve Kaplan signature

Steven H. Kaplan, Ph.D.