Dear OISE Community:
I know that many of us are deeply saddened and horrified by the recent violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the tragic loss of lives throughout the region.
Now is not the time for nuance; nor do I presume to speak for all members of our community: I know that there are deeply held convictions about this longstanding conflict, acts of terrorism perpetrated by Hamas, and the escalation of war as hours and days go by.
As Dean, I know that events in Israel and Gaza have intensified distress among our community — many of whom are worried about loved ones, friends, and colleagues and who have direct and indirect ties to the region. The safety and well-being of all at OISE is my foremost concern.
That means that I am deeply troubled by threats made to members of the OISE community. We support our community members, their right to express differences of opinion and beliefs, their desire for justice, and their prayers and hopes for a peaceful resolution to this conflict.
What I hope we all aspire to is recognition of all humanity, support and care for those suffering, and, as a faculty of education, modes of inquiry that facilitate deeper learning and understanding. We work to cultivate a dynamic intellectual environment that encourages the exchange of ideas, critical thinking, and solutions to complex problems.
I believe that terrorism is wrong. I condemn acts of violence that harm innocents. I think of all the children who have been harmed by this conflict, and fervently hope that the adults with the power to make change will think of them too.
Erica N. Walker
Professor and Dean, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
The University of Toronto's Message to the Community on the War in the Middle East can be found here.
If you are struggling during this difficult time, please know that you are not alone.
- Any faculty member who is concerned for their physical safety should contact Campus Safety; and feel free to move their courses and other activities online.
- Students who require immediate support may contact U of T Telus Health Student Support at 1-844-451-9700.
- Students who are struggling to focus on their studies should contact OISE's Student Success Counsellor, who will work with you to manage challenges and minimize disruptions to your well-being and academic success.
- Faculty, staff, and librarians are encouraged to contact the Employee and Family Assistance Program at 1-855-597-2110.
- OISE Community Safety Website details tools and resources offered by the University of Toronto for ensuring well-being and safety on and off-campus.