We on the Executive Council of Rutgers AAUP-AFT mourn the loss of life in Palestine and Israel, recognize the climate of fear in our communities, and express our common desire for peace and universal respect for human rights.
We are focused, first of all, on our duties as educators. We reaffirm our commitment to the principles of academic freedom and the right of all members of the Rutgers community to express their views, engage in scholarly discourse, and participate in activism without fear of reprisal or retaliation. Our students, our colleagues, and our communities have the right to speak out on issues related to Israel and Palestine. Our union will defend them against intimidation, harassment, discrimination, threats of violence, antisemitism, and Islamophobia.
Around the country, faculty, graduate workers, staff, and students have faced firings and threats for speaking out about the crisis in the Middle East. We must challenge this climate of fear, as nearly 200 of our colleagues did with their open letter to President Jonathan Holloway. In our new contracts, we won further safeguards on academic freedom and freedom of expression, including on social media, that can be used to protect our students and ourselves.
We will actively combat all instances of discrimination, including Islamophobia and antisemitism, recognizing the importance of creating a space free from threats or intimidation, where every individual feels respected and protected. We restate our unequivocal opposition to discrimination, harassment, and threats directed at Muslims, Jewish people, and people of color.
The road to peace cannot be found through warfare. Basic human rights and respect for international law must be restored. Water, fuel, food, and other aid must be allowed into Gaza to stop a humanitarian catastrophe, all attacks on civilians must end, and all hostages must be released. We call on the Biden administration to work for an immediate ceasefire and for the release of all the hostages to prevent the further loss of life and make humanitarian aid possible.
People of all faiths, races, and identities deserve to live in a world free from war, violence, terror, and oppression. We urge our members to find ways in these difficult times to show solidarity with our students and communities, and to work toward a more just, democratic, and loving world.