This page will be regularly updated. Last updated: 23 February 2023

In light of the appalling attacks and hostage-taking by Hamas and the terrible effects on civilians of Israel’s military action in Gaza, we express our profound sympathy for those currently suffering in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.

We acknowledge that many of our staff and students have family and friends who are directly affected. Many others in our community share the pain of those who are suffering. We hope for a further ceasefire, the release of the remaining hostages, and a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Our Principal and welfare team are meeting regularly with staff, students, and societies. We are listening to concerns and will continue to do everything we can to support all Somervillians. It is imperative that we keep our community together at this challenging time.

In a vibrant academic institution like ours, it is inevitable that our staff and students will hold a range of views about the conflict. Our College must remain a place where all members of our community are supported and welcomed, and where diverse voices and perspectives are tolerated and respected, within the limits of the law. We are grateful to all our members for continuing to treat one another with civility and respect.

It has become clear, however, that some students and staff at Oxford have experienced or witnessed antisemitic and Islamophobic behaviour. As a college, we will not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment. Advice for staff and students who have experienced harassment, including how to make a complaint, can be found below. We stress that there is no place for antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate directed towards any faith or ethnic group at the University of Oxford.

Support at Somerville

We are meeting regularly with staff, students, and societies directly affected by these events. We stress again that there is no place for antisemitism, Islamophobia or hate for any faith at Somerville. If any member of the Somerville community experiences harassment, we encourage them to report it via the appropriate channels and seek support. Support is available via the following channels:

Report hate crimes, and other threats, to the police (please see the current Thames Valley Police guidance)

Report harassment via University of Oxford harassment advisor network (see the University’s harassment policy for guidance on appropriate options)

Contact one of the College Harassment Advisors:

– Dr Stephen Rayner (Senior Tutor) (

– Jo Ockwell (Student Welfare Lead) (

– Prof Damian Tyler, GB Fellow (

You can read more about Somerville’s Harassment Policy and Procedure.

Our Principal Jan Royall published the following statement on 11th October 2023 in response to the events of 7th October 2023. It has since been superseded by subsequent statements.