Statement from President Robbins on campus demonstrations

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Dear Students and Colleagues,

As president of a leading public research university that includes students, faculty, and staff from all parts of the country and areas across the globe, it is my responsibility to support our community when we are impacted by tragic local, national and international situations.

As we continue to witness the horrendous acts of terrorism by Hamas in Israel targeted at innocent civilians, including children, this clearly is not just a political debate or incident related to geopolitical differences. Let's call it what it is: antisemitic hatred, murder, and a complete atrocity. The resulting war inevitably will result in many more deaths of innocent Israelis and Palestinians.

Because the University of Arizona has one of the largest populations of Jewish students in our country, this tragedy hits our community especially hard.

We understand that a national student organization with a chapter at the University of Arizona called Students for Justice in Palestine, or SJP, is planning a demonstration on campus tomorrow. The national organization has made statements endorsing the actions of Hamas in Israel, which are, of course, antithetical to our university's values.

As a public university, we have both the obligation and the opportunity to support and defend free speech and open dialogue. We recognize that the First Amendment protects speech and demonstrations, even for ideas and opinions that most find objectionable or hateful.

I want to be clear that SJP is not speaking on behalf of our university. But they have the constitutional right to hold their views and to express them in a safe environment.

Tomorrow, and in the days ahead, there will continue to be discussions, debates, and demonstrations. I encourage you to embrace your First Amendment rights and make your voices heard, but please do so peacefully, safely, and civilly.

Please know that the safety of our campus community continues to be the University's top priority, and we are prepared for tomorrow's event.

I also want to emphasize the importance of taking care of yourself as we navigate such agonizing issues in our world. If you or someone you know needs support, please explore the resources we offer and reach out for help. Details on University resources are below.


Robert C. Robbins, M.D.
The University of Arizona


This message was originally shared in an email to students, faculty, staff and designated campus colleagues.