Against Hatred

December 7, 2023

Dear Members of the Yale Community,

Over the past two months, I have heard from many of you through letters, emails, and conversations. You have shared with me your experiences and worries, including your despair that the Hamas-Israel war has stoked waves of antagonism and revived feelings of anguish and fear that have been borne by many members of Arab, Israeli, Jewish, Muslim, Palestinian, and other communities over generations. My colleagues and I have met with many leaders, faculty members, students, staff, and alumni to discuss these matters.

When we see bitter discord spread around the globe, we must stand united against hatred directed at any group and hold tight to our common values. Our university mission to improve the world compels us to create knowledge, promote understanding, and contribute solutions to pressing challenges. We do this work by embracing the open exchange of ideas and by welcoming diverse experiences, cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives. As I have said to students, our forceful rejection of discrimination and prejudice must be matched by our will to act with compassion and civility. These are the values we stand for, and we have traveled far together over the years to create and sustain a thriving academic environment.

Today, as we face the resurgence of hate around the world and in our nation, we must build on the work we have done together to meet the needs of our community. In reviewing our current efforts, we have found opportunities to enhance support for those most affected by the Hamas-Israel war. Below, I describe new actions we are taking and provide an update on the campus climate, including our unwavering commitment to campus safety and core principles of free expression. In the coming weeks, you will receive additional updates.

Supporting Communities Most Affected by the War

Our ongoing efforts to address racism, nativism, and prejudice through Belonging at Yale, launched in 2019, now help us to respond to the national climate of rising intolerance and hate toward Arab, Jewish, Muslim, and Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) individuals. The MENA community includes Israelis and Palestinians; Arabs and non-Arabs; Iranians and Turks; Christians, Jews, and Muslims; among others.

Improving Jewish Student Life and Addressing Antisemitism

Over the past two years, we have been working with national Jewish organizations to enhance a supportive campus climate for students and other members of the Jewish community at Yale and to combat antisemitism. Based on foundational work conducted in partnership with Jewish community leaders and on the feedback received from students, faculty, staff, and alumni, Yale is taking additional actions to address antisemitism:

  • Yale is establishing a standing advisory committee on Jewish student life to build on the recently completed work conducted by the Yale Antisemitism Campus Climate Group, formed in 2022 in partnership with the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life as part of the Hillel International Campus Climate Initiative. Over the past 18 months, members of the Yale Antisemitism Campus Climate Group have obtained input from focus groups of Jewish and non-Jewish undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty members; last week, they provided a report of their findings and recommendations. The new standing advisory committee we are establishing will help implement and amplify the recommendations of the Yale Antisemitism Campus Climate Group and will continue to identify and address issues related to campus climate for the Jewish student community. The committee will report to Secretary and Vice President Kimberly Goff-Crews and advise the president and other university leaders. It will conduct cross-sectional work with a new committee that will examine and respond to the needs and interests of the MENA and Muslim communities on campus (described below).
  • Yale will incorporate new educational programming on antisemitism into Belonging at Yale and offer it broadly to the campus community, from students to trustees. The Office of Institutional Equity and Accessibility will work with the newly formed advisory committee on Jewish student life to assess and expand training and educational opportunities on antisemitism. In the meantime, Yale will continue to offer in-depth professional workshops, including on antisemitism, to faculty and staff who support students across the university.
  • Yale will convert the pilot program that began in 2022 between Yale Security and the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life into an ongoing initiative to fund fully the cost of day-to-day security service for the Slifka Center and will review this partnership every three years.
  • Recognizing the importance of kosher dining for the Yale community, the university will provide significant additional funding to expand its partnership with the Slifka Center to further support the operational infrastructure for kosher meals, as we do for Halal, vegan, and other dietary options.

Improving Arab, MENA, and Muslim Student Life and Addressing Islamophobia

In recent years, we have been working with faculty, students, and staff to learn about and respond to the needs of the university’s Arab, MENA, and Muslim communities. Building on these efforts, the information we have gathered over the years, and the comments and suggestions we have received from members of the Yale community in the past two months, we are taking new actions in response to anti-Arab and Islamophobic sentiments:

  • Yale will formalize and expand an existing advisory group into a standing committee that will examine the needs and interests of the MENA and Muslim communities on campus and recommend ways to enhance support for them. Following the start of the Hamas-Israel war, Yale responded by convening university leaders and faculty and staff experts to provide guidance on how to better understand and respond to the needs of the Arab, MENA, and Muslim communities, including Palestinian students. The new committee will report to Secretary and Vice President Kimberly Goff-Crews and advise the president and other university leaders. This committee will conduct cross-sectional work with the new committee on Jewish student life.
  • The university will incorporate new educational programming on Islamophobia into Belonging at Yale and offer it broadly to the campus community, from students to trustees. The newly formed committee will partner with the Office of Institutional Equity and Accessibility to assess and make recommendations on training and educational programming. This builds on the work conducted at Yale by the Chaplain’s Office to inform and educate staff members who support students. Combating prejudice or discrimination against Arabs, Muslims, and MENA groups and identities is also included in the work of Belonging at Yale.
  • The university will increase staffing and secure space on campus for the MENA student community. In recent years, university leaders have discussed with MENA students their requests for additional space and recognition, and we are committed to work with them and to provide resources and guidance.
  • Yale will hire a second Muslim chaplain, who will work with the current Yale Muslim chaplain and director of Muslim Life, to increase the university’s capacity to provide pastoral care and direct support for the Muslim community.

Campus safety

The actions we are taking complement our steadfast commitment to the safety and well-being of all members of our community. The Yale Police Department (YPD) has strategically increased security measures, including implementing additional patrols across the university. YPD is constantly monitoring the status of our campus.

YPD is working with the New Haven Police Department and Connecticut Intelligence Center as well as other state and federal partners to gather information regarding any possible external threats to the campus or the broader community. We are not aware of any credible threats against Yale or any member of our campus community.

There has been one reported incident where a person not affiliated with Yale spat on a student wearing a keffiyeh. This behavior is absolutely unacceptable. YPD is investigating, and we have provided support to the student. Outside of this incident, there have been no reported physical confrontations and violence related to the Hamas-Israel war at Yale to date.

A “doxing” truck sponsored by an external group drove through and parked near our campus in the middle of November. It was a despicable attempt to intimidate and harass our students. The university swiftly reached out to provide support to each student whose name and image was displayed on the truck, and we guided them toward resources for doxing and other forms of abuse and harassment.

I remain in regular contact with YPD and will continue to focus on the safety of everyone on our campus. YPD Chief Anthony Campbell will provide additional campus safety updates soon. In the meantime, if anyone needs support, please see university resources for safety, mental health, free expression, discrimination and harassment, and other topics.

Free expression

Yale stands resolutely as a place that welcomes many beliefs, identities, views, and cultures, and we are unwavering in our devotion to free expression, open dialogue, and civil debate. Our right to free expression does not obviate our responsibility as colleagues and peers to one another. Yale aims to be a place where all students feel free to express their views inside and outside the classroom. Yale will not tolerate discrimination and harassment, including threats of violence, intimidation, or coercion.

Over the past two months, our students have participated in a range of events that highlight the breadth of campus conversations related to the Hamas-Israel war, and some have taken part in protests and demonstrations. Students and other members of our community have worked together to avoid the violent outbursts we have seen at some other universities. For that, I am immensely thankful. However, I am deeply disappointed by incidents of hurtful and thoughtless words, social media posts, malicious messages sent to individuals and groups, and other behavior that erodes our sense of belonging to the Yale community.

Chants or messages that express hatred, celebrate the killing of civilians, or contain calls for genocide of any group are utterly against our ideals and certainly are not characteristic of our broader community. As I have said to students in recent weeks, members of our community do not need to agree on everything, but we must share a commitment to open, civil discourse and respect for one another.

Our commitment to open and civil discourse must be matched by our dedication to providing community support and to creating a welcoming and productive university environment. Belonging at Yale will expand efforts to support Arab, Israeli, Jewish, MENA, and Muslim communities. The next Belonging at Yale annual report will highlight how every part of the university is working to sustain a community where everyone has opportunities to contribute, to thrive, and to feel a sense of belonging.


Yale has unfinished work to pursue, and I look forward to receiving the recommendations from the newly established committees.

I thank you for sharing insights that have informed the new actions we are taking. As I noted in my October 10th statement, we must not waver from our commitment to support Yale’s community. Today, with these new actions, I am confident that we can maintain that commitment and grow stronger together. 


Peter Salovey
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology