Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Schill issues new statement on Israel-Hamas war, free speech

Schill+said+in+a+Friday+message+that+while+he+doesn%E2%80%99t+intend+to+issue+University+statements+on+most+political+or+social+issues%2C+NU%E2%80%99s+response+is+still+guided+by+a+set+of+core+values.
Daily file photo by Jonah Elkowitz
Schill said in a Friday message that while he doesn’t intend to issue University statements on most political or social issues, NU’s response is still guided by a set of core values.

University President Michael Schill issued a new statement Friday afternoon on the Israel-Hamas war and his views on Northwestern’s role in taking official stances on political issues.

The back-to-back statements came nearly a week after the militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel Saturday. Israel has pursued attacks on Gaza since declaring war on Hamas Sunday, and the ensuing violence has left more than 3,000 Israelis and Palestinians dead and thousands more injured.

In an email Friday, Schill responded to criticisms of his Thursday message in which he announced the University will not issue statements on political or social issues that do not directly impact its core mission. 

Schill said some community members thought he meant “the University as an entity should not be governed by a set of values… that everything is relative.” Rather, Schill said, the University is guided by a set of values including free speech, diversity, rational discourse and “the dignity of humanity and an abhorrence of antisemitism and racism.”

“The abhorrent and horrific actions of Hamas on Saturday are clearly antithetical to Northwestern’s values — as well as my own,” Schill wrote Friday. “Whatever we might feel about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, our shared humanity should lead us all to condemn these barbaric acts.”

Schill encouraged the community to support one another and “seek common ground” in Friday’s message. He said building understanding and empathizing with others does not require people to agree on divisive issues like the current war.

In his Thursday message, Schill also explained that his attendance at a Monday night vigil organized by Jewish students to mourn lives lost in the war was in his individual capacity rather than on behalf of the University. 

Student leaders from Students for Justice in Palestine said Schill declined an invitation to attend their vigil Thursday night to honor the lives lost in Gaza this week and express solidarity with Palestinians. Vice President of Student Affairs Susan Davis attended both vigils. 

“I attended both vigils to mourn the loss of life and support our students,” Davis told The Daily Friday morning.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @jacob_wendler

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Twitter: @saullpink

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