President Nathan Hatch emailed this message to students, faculty and staff on April 29:
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
Earlier this year, we saw hatred against Muslims in New Zealand. Last week, we saw the persecution of Sri Lankan Christians on Easter. And on Saturday, we saw violence toward Jews in our nation as they concluded Passover. I offer my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue shooting victims and to the Jewish people and communities who are deeply affected by this tragic act of anti-Semitism.
Attacks on houses of worship when the faithful are gathered to observe their sacred days and profess their strongly held beliefs are abominable. There is no place for religious persecution against any faith in our world.
Yet it does not seem enough to condemn the actions of those spreading hatred. We must find ways to overcome and loosen the foothold of this brutality, and the only force I know strong enough to conquer hate is love. In response to the recent aggression and violence against so many, let us unite – no matter religion, race, ethnicity or creed – and find our common bond in supporting one another through the inexplicable.
Please be conscientious about your personal wellbeing, and that of your friends and loved ones, in the aftermath of this tragedy. Wake Forest offers support and counseling services for all students, faculty and staff who are struggling or just want to talk. The University Counseling Center may be reached at 336-758-5273 and the Office of the Chaplain may be contacted at 336-758-5210. The Employee Assistance Program is available to faculty and staff at 336-716-5493. We encourage anyone having a difficult time to seek support.
Let us turn what has been meant to cause fear and spread division into acts of courage and stronger bonds of unity. When it seems as if hatred knows no boundaries, let love be far more pervasive. When it seems as if anger spews relentlessly, let kindness and compassion get the final word. And when uncertainty and trepidation threaten, let courage and peace console and bring us together.
Nathan O. Hatch