Alert: Community safety and resources

Alert: Community safety and resources

Dear Mount Holyoke College alums,

As the war in the Middle East continues, activism and protest activities on college and university campuses continue to escalate. Local and national news outlets have reported extensively on this topic, and while Mount Holyoke College has not experienced incidents of physical violence or non-peaceful protests seen on other campuses, our community — in South Hadley and around the world — is not immune to the pain, confusion, outrage and grief of this moment. For your information, below is a letter that was sent to the campus community earlier today. (Some links may be password-protected.)

We recognize and value the care and concern our alums have demonstrated during this incredibly challenging moment in world history, and our thoughts are with you as well. Your inquiries about the safety of our campus community and fellow alums are deeply appreciated. Some of you have also inquired about whether the College would issue a statement about the conflict in Israel. We encourage you to read this message from President Holley, explaining her long-held practice on institutional statements. In times of crisis and conflict, it is critical that institutions of higher education work to support their students to increase knowledge and thoughtful dialogue. That work continues at Mount Holyoke College.


Trisha Tanner ’00, Executive Director, Alumnae Association

Kassandra Jolley, Vice President, College Relations

As the war in the Middle East continues, there has been a surge of antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents in communities around the globe and online. This message is a reminder to the campus of the College’s commitment to freedom of expression and rigorous inquiry and, at the same time, our responsibility to uphold policies in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our entire campus. To be clear, discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national or ethnic origin and religion (among other protections) are prohibited, and all members of the campus community are expected to uphold community commitments.

Campus resources

This is a difficult time, and we know many are struggling with a wide range of thoughts and feelings that can cause or exacerbate stress and affect individual well-being. We also have been told that many on our campus wish to be in community with one another and provide care and support to friends and colleagues.

As a reminder, students should review this web page of resources for safety, care and support from Student Life and other campus partners. Faculty and staff are encouraged to reach out to the Employee Assistance Program at 888-881-5462.

All incidents of bias or community insensitivity should be sent directly to the Department of Public Safety and Service and/or to the Bias Education Support Team. You can do so either directly or via the College’s Bias Incident Report form.

In addition, please continue to watch the campus events calendar and other campus communications (Dean’s Corner, Word Out, MHC This Week) for ongoing programming.

Students, a reminder of special resources available to you:

  • Know Your Neighbor is a weekly program where students have the opportunity to talk about their own experiences of faith, culture and identity and to hear from others with different experiences to their own in a comfortable, supportive space.
  • Students seeking spiritual and faith-based support can contact the chaplains and advisors of the Office of Community and Belonging by appointment for spiritual companionship, individual support and faith and spiritual services/rituals or vigils, programs and events.
  • A new Grief Processing Group, providing a safe space for healing and connection, will meet each Tuesday evening from 6-7 pm and will be facilitated and supported by an experienced licensed counselor.

Campus engagement policies

This communication also summarizes our policies that relate to engagement, protest and demonstrations on campus. Our posting policy clearly states all signs need to “include the identifying name/affiliation of the sponsor of the materials and a contact for more information.” The policy also prohibits posters in certain locations for safety reasons, such as glass doors, or other surfaces such as lamp posts and painted walls. Our chalking policy also requires a signatory. It limits chalking to asphalt roads and walkways. Please continue to be respectful to those campus community members who are charged with upholding these policies as they remove signage.

The College will continue to share and enforce policies that preserve both freedom of expression and the safety and security of our campus community.