EDI Committee statement on conflict in Israel, Palestine, and surrounding regions

We wish to acknowledge that violence and conflict in Israel, Palestine, and surrounding regions are affecting our Department community. Some members of our Department have personal ties to these regions or to people experiencing violence or hardship. For other people who have experienced war or other traumas, the violence may bring up difficult memories. Department members are hurting, angry, and afraid, including in some cases for their own safety here on campus or in Vancouver. Our hearts go out to everyone who has suffered the loss of loved ones, must fear for their safety, or have otherwise felt the impact of the conflict.

World events that affect our families, friends, and communities, and the emotions that they engender, follow us through the classroom or office door. As the Department EDI Committee, our hope is to provide support and resources for Department members who are impacted. We encourage all of us to approach others in this Department with understanding and compassion, because it is not always obvious when people are struggling. Please know that we are also working hard to apply this advice ourselves, seeing this challenging time as an opportunity to reflect on our own biases and to more openly listen to diverse points of view. Whatever someone’s ethnicity, nationality, religious beliefs, or political views are, we are committed to ensuring Department members can work and learn in an environment that enables them to thrive. Finally, we especially encourage faculty to be sensitive to the effects of the situation on students in their classes and labs, and to provide space for students to express how the conflict is affecting them. Because of power dynamics, students may not feel able to initiate these conversations without invitation.

The messages from the Faculty of Arts and President Bacon, below, provide mental health resources that are geared to UBC students, postdocs, faculty, and staff. The Equity & Inclusion Office has a guide on respectful dialogues that may be helpful. Department members are also invited to contact any member of our EDI Committee to let us know how we can support your mental health and wellbeing during this difficult time.