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Update on President’s Advisory Committee on Preventing Antisemitism and Hate

Dear members of the Northwestern community,

As we return from winter break, we carry forward the essential work of combatting antisemitism and other hateful behavior that has impacted our campus and others across the country in recent months.

I write today to provide an update on the President’s Advisory Committee on Preventing Antisemitism and Hate, which I announced last November. Co-chaired by Efraim Benmelech, Henry Bullock Professor of Finance and Real Estate and Director of the Crown Family Israel Center for Innovation, and Bryan Brayboy, SESP Dean and Carlos Montezuma Professor of Education and Social Policy, the committee’s membership has now been finalized, and its work begins immediately. You will find updates from the co-chairs and other information about and from the Advisory Committee on its website. I encourage you to read the opening letter from the co-chairs.

Consistent with Northwestern’s commitment to provide a safe, welcoming environment in which to learn and work, the Advisory Committee will provide guidance and advice to the President and Provost to help ensure that the entire University community stands for learning, civil discourse and informed dialogue on even the most intractable conflicts, and that our students, faculty and staff can work together and engage in debate and discussion without fear of harassment or intimidation.

The Advisory Committee will meet with various constituencies on campus to assess the climate with respect to antisemitism and other forms of hate including Islamophobia. Committee members will advise the Provost and me on issues related to safety and, when relevant, make recommendations to enhance protection. Additionally, the Advisory Committee will recommend a series of educational and institutional interventions that place the well-being of students at the core of the institution. That is, we will work toward building responses, educative and student- and employee-focused, to create an environment on campus where ideas can be vigorously debated without fear of hate-based retribution.

Advisory Committee members represent a diverse set of Northwestern perspectives and include faculty, staff, students, alumni and trustees. I want to thank the committee members who have joined the co-chairs to engage in this difficult but crucially important work. The members are:

  • Emily Babb, Associate Vice President for Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance
  • Lily Cohen, student
  • Mona Dugo, Assistant Vice President of Wellness and Dean of Students
  • Martin Eichenbaum, Charles Moskos Professor of Economics
  • Tarek Elmasry, Trustee
  • Daniel Greene, Adjunct Professor of History
  • Philip Greenland, Harry W. Dingman Professor of Cardiology and Professor of Preventive Medicine
  • Reema Habiby, Associate Professor of Pediatrics
  • Mahdi Haseeb, student
  • Heidi Kitrosser, William W. Gurley Professor of Law
  • Nour Kteily, Professor of Management and Organizations and Co-Director of the Dispute Resolution Research Center
  • Robert Launay, Professor of Anthropology
  • Paula Pretlow, Trustee
  • Michael Simon, Executive Director of Northwestern Hillel
  • Jessica Winegar, Professor and the Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Chair in Middle Eastern Studies
  • Clyde Yancy, Magerstadt Professor of Medicine and Vice Dean for Diversity and Inclusion

Each of these individuals brings passionate and thoughtful views to the table, all of which hold value in the broader conversation we seek to have. They have answered the University’s call for assistance and deserve the grace to do the work that will benefit all of us. I want to emphatically state that we will not tolerate any form of doxxing, harassment or bullying of any of the Advisory Committee members — whether that behavior comes from inside our community or outside. 

As the Advisory Committee moves forward with its work, it will continue to provide updates to the University community. Meanwhile, independent of the Advisory Committee, I plan to continue meeting with individuals and groups across campus to learn more about their experiences and support them, and our Student Affairs team will continue its outreach to provide space, support and consultation to students and organizations.

Together, we can and will build a more inclusive Northwestern that rejects hate in all its forms. For us to continue as one of the very best research universities in the world and grow even further in eminence and impact, we must exercise mutual respect as we engage in the challenging dialogue that is essential for individual growth and understanding.