The University of Wyoming on Friday announced its public disgust for the attacks on Israel by the terrorist group Hamas last weekend.
“There’s no question that what happened there is an atrocity – acts of terrorism, including the slaughter of innocent civilians and kidnappings that are cause for shock and condemnation,” reads a Friday statement by UW President Ed Seidel and Provost and Executive Vice President Kevin Carman. “Israel’s military response in Gaza is a clear indication this conflict will not end any time soon.”
Some members of the UW community are within the Israel and Gaza regions or have friends and family near there, the statement says.
University leadership is seeing and hearing of stress and anguish on campus as a result.
“Our focus is on supporting you all during this time of incredible distress,” says the statement, which thanks those who have reached out directly about the events.
The University’s public condemnation of Hamas is given from the standpoint of a Sept. 29 announcement re-committing the university to fostering free expression and intellectual freedom on campus. That statement addressed in part a lawsuit in which a federal judge chided UW leaders for censoring a public speaker on campus last December.
“We reiterate that UW operates from a position of neutrality and provides an open forum for the deliberation and debate of public issues,” says the Friday statement on the Hamas attack. “We will not normally or routinely make statements on problems around the nation or world.
“But this is an instance in which the actions of Hamas were so reprehensible, and the impact on our community so strong, that we feel compelled to do so now.”
The debate around what is happening in Israel and Gaza and why — and what should happen next — will manifest many different views on campus, the statement says, imploring people to be respectful of differing perspectives and remember that many groups and nationalities are likely to be affected.
“Many innocent lives will continue to be lost, which is something we should all mourn, regardless of the circumstances,” says the statement. “In the meantime, let’s come together to support and protect our community in the face of such terrible events elsewhere.”
The statement the following resources to help people:
The Employee Assistance Program offers UW employees and their families access to a variety of support services including counseling.
The University Counseling Center provides free counseling services to students.
UW’s Multicultural Resource Center is a place for community building, advocacy and intercultural awareness.
Also, Matthew Shepard
UW’s statement closes by commemorating the 25th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s murder, which was Thursday.
Shepard, a gay man and UW sophomore, was tortured by two other men outside Laramie on Oct. 7, 1998, and died five days later from the attack.
“As we grieve for the senseless loss of life in Israel and Gaza, our thoughts also are with Judy and Dennis Shepard and other family and friends of Matthew, whose life ended much too early in our community,” reads the statement.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.