April 22, 2024

To our Penn community,

Like you, I am witnessing the turbulence and strife taking place on several university campuses across the country. Members of our community will have different reactions to what is happening, including feeling heightened anxiety and other strong emotions. That this unrest is happening at the start of Passover undoubtedly creates further stress.

Our foremost purpose is education, creating and sharing knowledge to make the world better through our scholarship and service. Penn is connected to and a part of the world around us – from our Philadelphia roots to around the globe. Our campus is deeply impacted by external events, as the past months have demonstrated all too clearly. 

We are and must continue taking action that brings us together to meet the challenges of this time and to remain true to our educational purpose. We must also ensure that our campus stays safe, inclusive, and welcoming for everyone, regardless of background or ideology.

To this end, the University is taking the following steps to support our community:

Provost Jackson and I will host a Community Listening Session on Thursday, April 25, from 4-5PM.  We recognize this is short notice and during Passover, which may make it difficult for some to attend. However, we invite students, faculty, and staff to share their thoughts on the impacts of the conflict in the Middle East on our campus. This event will require a PennCard to attend. Additional details on the location and format will be shared shortly. I have asked the chair of the University Task Force on Antisemitism and the co-chairs of the Presidential Commission on Countering Hate and Building Community to extend the comment period on their work to ensure members of our campus community have additional time to share feedback that will inform the final reports and recommendations of these important groups. Community members can direct comments to: antisemitism-taskforce@upenn.edu or presidential-commission@upenn.edu. Recognizing that additional resources may be needed to support our community, I have asked Penn Wellness and Penn Public Safety to bolster their services. Please do not hesitate to make use of the resources listed here.

I call on all of us to remember and cherish what brought us to Penn. Remember what we can learn from one another. Remember to care for and respect one another. And remember what we can do for the world.



J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD
Interim President
University of Pennsylvania