scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Faculty, staff are working hard to defuse charged campus atmosphere

Inside the Student Union at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Oct. 10.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Re “Campus war of words escalates to more” (Page A1, Nov. 15): I appreciate the Globe’s attention to the charged atmosphere facing Jewish and other students at area college campuses, including my own, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Missing from the story is the important work that faculty, staff, and administrators are doing to connect with students and provide educational and other opportunities to reduce the polarization and offer necessary historical and political context. My department hosted two relevant and civil events in recent weeks, and many other such moments for learning and conversations across political divides have taken place throughout the UMass campus.


Particularly at a national moment when universities are under attack precisely because of their commitments to foster reasoned and open-minded discourse, it is important to look beyond the most strident student speech to see the less dramatic instances of learning and discussion around contentious issues like the Israel-Hamas war.

I hope to see more coverage of how campus workers are putting in many extra hours to try to meet our students’ different needs in a fair-minded, caring manner. Indeed, my own unit, which teaches and advises students interested in both Jewish studies and Middle Eastern studies, serves as a useful example of bridging the current divide.

David Mednicoff


Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies

University of Massachusetts Amherst