A Message from President Webster on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

President Webster calls on the community to reinforce the Albion mission during ongoing turmoil and shares support and resources for those impacted.

October 23, 2023

The following message was sent from President Webster to the Albion campus community on Monday, October 23 in response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

For the past two weeks, many of us have followed the news out of Israel and Palestine with deep sadness and concern for the thousands of innocent lives lost and the millions who are continuing to be impacted by violence and destruction.The fissures of this conflict are long and carry wide-ranging impacts to be sure and sadly it is yet another example of division leading to destruction and loss. 

Last week, crowds of mourners gathered in a Chicago suburb (some two hours from Albion) to grieve the murder of Wadea Al-Fayoume, a six year old Palestinian-American boy fatally stabbed 24 times by his landlord. His mother remains hospitalized in critical condition from her wounds. This weekend, just 50 minutes away in Detroit, Samantha Woll, a prominent leader in the city’s Jewish community and former staffer for prominent Michigan Democrats, was found murdered outside her home. Woll established the Muslim-Jewish Forum of Detroit – a grassroots collective of young adults of both faiths who gather in partnership to learn, celebrate, and build community together. While the impetus of this horrific act may yet to be determined, its timing along with troubling world events is hard to ignore. 

As a general matter, I question the appropriateness of individuals in roles like mine to regularly comment on world events. I am wholly aware words do little to heal the wounds we all feel as we watch a seemingly endless news cycle of violence and hate. I disagree with words that do not come with associated action. Accordingly, I want to share some updates on work that has taken place and to inform you of resources and possible ways to engage. 

Since the conflict began, representatives from our Office of Belonging and others have reached out weekly to students with religious, cultural and/or familial connections to the tragedy unfolding in the Middle East. We’ve continued to ask them what would be most helpful to them during this time and offered words of comfort, commitment, and action should they need it.

Our counseling team has been preparing to support any member of our campus community who needs it. In addition, Laura Todd, assistant director for spiritual wellness, is available for support and guidance. Most importantly, the safety and well-being of all members of our community is of the utmost importance. While we live and work on a safe campus, if you see something, say something by calling campus security at 517-629-0911 or use the following link to report an incident you feel is contrary to our community values. 

Times like these may leave us with a sense of hopelessness. For me, I am reminded of the transformative power of our mission. Now, more than ever, we must hold fast to the work we do at Albion to create classroom environments that encourage civil dialogue on tough issues; to build residential experiences that teach us how to live, learn, and grow with people from all backgrounds and identities; and to serve our own local community in myriad ways that reinforce how connected we all are on this journey.

Thank you all for the roles you play to build and support our community at Albion.

With gratitude,

President Webster