Condemning Hate and Antisemitism is Non-NegotiableNovember 12, 2023
In my current role as the president of Queens College, my identification is not limited to specific groups of students. I stand in solidarity with both Jewish and Muslim students on campus, as I understand the fears and struggles they face. This is particularly evident in light of the recent pandemic, during which I, as an Asian American, felt vulnerable to both the disease and the hatred that came with it. Despite our differences in ethnicity or faith, it is crucial that we strive to ensure genuine empathy and avoid selective sympathies. While we can approach each other by sharing our own histories, it is important to recognize the limitations of our experiences and understand that not everything can be equated.
As institutions of higher education, campuses often become sites of controversy over ongoing global issues such as the conflict in the Middle East. These institutions are meant to foster open debate and facilitate dialogue, and we appreciate the awareness that many of our students have on current events, especially when it directly affects them due to their family ties or military service. Our goal is to uphold a culture of respectful expression and active listening, with an understanding that we may both persuade and be persuaded.
It is important to recognize that colleges, including Queens College, are civic spaces and safe havens, where individuals from different backgrounds can come together to learn. Our ongoing efforts to promote an open society, self-governance, and respect are founded on the mutual promises of a social contract. Given this, it is essential that individuals advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion do not remain passive in the face of suffering and trauma, regardless of its source. We must collectively work to combat prejudice and strive for genuine equality, trust, and communication.