We are aware that some students may be deeply affected by the recent events in Israel, Gaza, and the Middle East, and that some may also be worried about family and friends in the affected area.
The University has written directly to all students who have registered with the University as Israeli, Palestinian, or one of the bordering countries, and also to those students registered with relevant student societies. However, we recognise that some of our students may have dual nationality or normally reside in the UK or elsewhere. As such, if you or someone you know has been affected by these events, we do urge you to visit or share with your friend the Oxford response page, which contains details of further support that might be useful.
If you are a current Somervillian affected by these events, please use existing Welfare channels for further support. At times of heightened worry and stress, it is important to stay in touch with support networks as much as possible.
Please find below statements from our Principal Baroness Royall on behalf of the college, and from the University. If you are a student or member of staff and Somerville and there is any way we can support you at this incredibly difficult time, please get in touch with our Welfare Lead, Jo Ockwell, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, we would like to echo and reiterate the University’s words in saying that there is no place for antisemitism or hate for any faith or people at Somerville, and Oxford.
Statement by Baroness Royall
These are dark and terrible days for the people of Israel and Palestine. The acts of terrorism and slaughter committed by Hamas are deplorable, and must be condemned in the strongest terms. They have no ideological justification nor legitimacy, and can only lead to more heartbreak and loss in a region already too familiar with those pains.
At this terrible time, I wish to share my grief, sympathy and support with all the Jewish and Israeli members of the Somerville community who are afraid for their loved ones, who have experienced the irreparable trauma of loss, or who pray for the safe return of family members.
I also wish to send the same message of unwavering love to those members of our community in the Gaza Strip, and their loved ones around the world, as they suffer the fall-out from crimes which they did not commit. These innocent people, families and children, are seeing their already broken world threatened with annihilation, and we must all speak out for the innocent on both sides of this conflict in whatever way we can.
It is hard for me to write another such message after writing similar ones about Ukraine, about Yemen, and about Syria. It is hard to see more suffering unleashed on a world in which so much suffering continues unchecked. At such times, it is easy to feel powerless, paralysed by horror. But we are not powerless.
At Somerville, we can help by not succumbing to polarised viewpoints, by truly listening to one another and by extending empathy and compassion to the victims on both sides. This, ultimately, is the point of all our learning: that at such moments we find ways to defy despair.
I have never been prouder of this College than when I see the bonds of true community that underpin all our work and relationships. I hope we can strengthen those bonds more than ever now, for the sake of our friends and loved ones everywhere.
Oxford University Statement and Support Resources
The impact of the appalling attacks by Hamas, and the deep concerns for the civilian Palestinian population and hostages in Gaza itself are understandably being felt by communities across the world, including in our own. Our thoughts are with all those suffering and we stress that there is no place for antisemitism or hate for any faith at Oxford.
To find links to Oxford University’s support for students and staff, visit https://www.ox.ac.uk/news-and-events/university-response-israel-gaza-middle-east.