A Message from Dean Kathleen Blee

October 21, 2018

Dear Friends,

By now you are all aware of Saturday’s terrible attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. A number of people in our community are members of congregations in the Tree of Life synagogue, and many others have been personally impacted. The effects of this unimaginable violence will reverberate throughout our School, our University, and our city for a long time to come.

As we grapple with our collective grief, I encourage you to learn about the counseling and other resources that the University has made available, and to share that information with others who may benefit from it.

We may never fully understand the deadly hatred that provoked this attack, and other hate-motivated violence across the country.  Yet, we must try.  In the coming weeks, we will be creating opportunities for collective reflection about how to counter the forces of hatred and bigotry and support practices of acceptance and inclusion in our increasingly polarized world.  We will announce details as they become available.

On a personal note, my 30 years of scholarship on racist and anti-Semitic violence did little to prepare me emotionally for the devastating events of this past weekend.  I have no words of solace adequate to the depth of our sorrow.  But I hope you have found comfort, as I have, in the swift and generous response of Chancellor Pat Gallagher and the many efforts of the University leadership to provide support during this crisis.

Although we have suffered a devastating blow to our community, our shared values of respect, diversity, welcome, and compassion provide the strongest possible foundation on which to rebuild.

Kathleen Blee
Bailey Dean of the Dietrich School
and the College of General Studies