A Message of Deep Disappointment

Published March 13, 2024

Dear Campus Community:

Earlier this week, flyers appeared on campus featuring the image of one of our professors and characterizations purporting to represent his views related to the Hamas/Israel conflict. I know these characterizations are false and I experience them as antisemitic threats.

While we unequivocally embrace freedom of expression, it is deeply upsetting that flyers were created and posted displaying the photograph of our faculty member and suggesting that he doesn’t belong at the CSU. 

We have reached out to our faculty member to offer support, and I have also asked that the Office of Equity and Compliance review this matter.

Since the start of the war that was triggered by the horrific October 7 terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas, we have been tested by passionate, divergent views fueled, in part, by the longstanding, complex dynamics that have affected this region throughout a long history.

The appearance of these flyers on our campus is not aligned with our core value of being a place where diversity of thought is welcomed and where compassion and respect characterize all we do. Our strength must be in our embrace of pluralism and in the rejection of any glorification or threat of violence. We must also reject Islamophobia and antisemitism.

Everyone involved in the conflict is hurting. The people in Gaza are suffering beyond measure. The families of still-held hostages are desperate. Families of those lost on October 7 are inconsolable. Those on our campus with connections to the war are in pain. But no one on this campus is bombing Palestinians or was involved in the horror of October 7. No one on this campus deserves to be seen as an enemy. We are all reluctant observers of an unfolding tragedy. 

We are a richly diverse community, and we must resist the temptation to demonize those who hold views different from our own. This is hard. Few societies achieve such tolerance, thus the existence of so many repressive states. Demanding we all see the world — religion, politics, identities — in the same way is dictatorship. Our campus must be a model of pluralism where differences are expected, tolerated, and explored.  I am gravely disappointed in those who posted these defamatory posters. We should be better than that.

Jane Close Conoley, Ph.D.