The following is from President Laurie L. Patton’s introduction of poet Peter Cole at the 35th Annual Hannah A. Quint Lecture in Jewish Studies on Tuesday, October 17.
I am particularly relieved and happy to welcome him [Peter Cole] back to Middlebury as he has just come out of the aftermath of the Hamas terrorist atrocities where innocent civilians were slaughtered in brutal and unconscionable fashion, and where we are watching every day the humanitarian crisis of innocent Palestinian civilians, many of whom are without water, food, and nowhere to go.
We need more models for the dialogues we are sponsoring here at Midd.
Intellectual life is often about the reclamation of innocence, even in the fact of its opposite—murderous cynicism.
The following statement from President Laurie L. Patton to students was read aloud at a community gathering on Wednesday, Oct. 11.
I am so sorry I can’t be with you today at the vigil. Our hearts go out to all who have been affected by the deeply painful, destructive, and unacceptable violence we have seen in Israel and Gaza, which must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.
Students, faculty, and staff are mourning, anxious, and afraid for their loved ones, family, and friends.
As people of the world we long for justice, in and for Israel, in and for Palestine.
I call upon all of us at Middlebury and in our community, to come together in solidarity.
To work across borders.
To work beyond our comfort levels. To build a lasting peace.
The following message was sent to Vermont and California students, faculty, and staff on Monday, October 9.
Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,
We are writing to acknowledge the untold pain, suffering, and loss of life unfolding from the violence happening now in Israel and Palestine. These events can have a huge impact on members of our Middlebury community, especially those with personal as well as professional connections there and around the globe.
We ask that each of us acts with sensitivity, empathy, and care with the understanding that we as a community and as individuals may be processing these events differently and through the lens of our own experiences. Please look out for one another and recognize that some are struggling.
Open expression and the free exchange of ideas are core to the Middlebury mission. However, there is no place here for hate, racism, ethnic discrimination, antisemitism, or Islamophobia. We have received unconfirmed reports of such acts on our Vermont campus, and we are investigating and will take appropriate action should any of these reports be confirmed.
Staff have already reached out and continue to be here to offer support to students and student groups. The academic administration is working with faculty across a number of disciplines who have expertise in the region to help organize an upcoming event to discuss these important issues to help bring context to the conflict, now declared a war. Please check the events calendar for details.
Following are resources that are always available for students, faculty, and staff:
Our Center for Health and Wellness staff, TimelyCare, and chaplains at the Scott Center are ready to provide support for any student. The Employee and Family Assistance Program, 866-660-9533 (company code: Middlebury College), is available 24/7 for faculty and staff and their immediate family members, and those residing in their homes.
In times of difficulty like these, we know that Middlebury can come together.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President
Vice President for Student Affairs
Associate Chaplain, Rabbi
Zahra Moeini Meybodi
Associate Muslim Chaplain and Interfaith Advisor