June 2, 2021
Dear University of Oregon community,
All too often over the past five years, I have written to the campus community condemning violence and expressions of hatred targeted to particular groups. Today, I write not just as the president of the university, but also as a member of a group that is the object of hatred. Violence against the Jewish people has existed for centuries and in recent years has accelerated with the growth of white supremacy. In the past couple of weeks, fighting in the Middle East has unleashed a new wave of anti-Semitic sentiment — from hateful language scrawled on walls to vicious acts of violence.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complex. Whatever your views about this ongoing tragedy, nothing justifies either verbal or physical attacks against innocent people based upon their religion, regardless of whether they believe in Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, or something else. We must stand up to hatred against people based on religion, race, national origin, gender and gender expression, or who they love.
Throughout history we have learned that silence in the face of evil begets more evil. The end of bigotry and racism starts with each of us, individually, lifting our voices. Please join me in condemning the recent wave of anti-Semitic violence and hatred. Our nation is better than this.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law