Tragedy in Pittsburgh

October 29, 2018

Originally sent via email.

Dear UArts Community,

I am grieving for the Jewish community in Pittsburgh, and most especially for the members of the Tree of Life synagogue. Our nation was stunned this weekend by the hateful and senseless killings there. The mass shooting took 11 innocent lives, in an act of overt anti­Semitism. Our hearts go out to those who were injured, and to the families and friends of the victims of such horrific violence.

This attack is an unconscionable violation of the principle of freedom of worship upon which our country was founded. The cowardly invasion of a sacred space delivers a message of hate aimed at a people, their culture, and their freedom to assemble peacefully to practice their religion without fear.

I strongly reiterate UArts’ commitment to our foundational freedoms, and to respect for diversity. Ignorance and intolerance that incite violence have no place in our society, and at the University of the Arts we will always stand up and vigorously oppose them.

For many here at UArts, this mass shooting targeted at a Jewish religious community is frightening and upsetting, and rightfully so. But as we grapple to comprehend the incomprehensible, let us be reminded again of the supportive bonds of friendship and respect, of understanding and empathy that are a hallmark of the University of the Arts community.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, know that support is available, as always, for students who need it. UArts offers counseling services for all students who are struggling or who just want to talk. You can access those services by calling 215­717­6630, or by visiting them in Gershman Hall, Room 307. I encourage anyone having a difficult time to seek support.

Although these barbaric attacks have become horrifically common in these divisive times, we must not allow them to succeed in breaking the bonds of community, humanity and compassion that connect us.

David