Disputes over the conflict between Israel and Hamas have found their way onto the campus of Massachusetts’ Wellesley College, a private liberal arts school for women where some resident advisers reportedly sent an anti-Israel message to students who live at one campus dormitory.
In an email last week to students who live at Munger Hall, residence hall leaders condemned Israel for the actions it has taken against Hamas and insisted there “should be no space, no consideration, and no support for Zionism within the Wellesley College community.”
The comments, first reported by Jake Novak, former media director at the Israeli Consulate in New York, came in an email from Moi Nee, the Munger Hall house president, on behalf of the “Munger Res Staff.”
“As of October 18th, 2023, the Palestinian-Israeli war has cost the lives of some 3,478 Palestinians and wounded 12,000. Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians, characterized by the displacement of 600,000 individuals, the dissemination of genocidal rhetoric by the Israeli government, and the illegal occupation of native Palestinian lands, have left our hearts heavy,” the email stated.
“With all historical, political, and territorial aspects considered, Israel’s zionist government needs to be condemned. Furthermore, individuals who endorse the forced removal of Palestinians should be recognized as supporters of colonization.
“Munger Hall stands in strong condemnation of Israel’s actions and those who have supported their actions against Palestinians. We firmly believe that there should be no space, no consideration, and no support for Zionism within the Wellesley College community,” the email added.
In addition to the comments, the residence hall leaders said they “plan on donating to a reputable organization that provides aid to the children and families whose lives have been destroyed.”
The residence hall leaders, who also pointed to campus resources as lines of support for students during “this devastating time,” concluded the email by saying, “We care about each and every one of you, and please feel free to reach out with any ideas of how we can best support you during these difficult times.”
When reached for comment, a media relations spokesperson for the school pointed Fox News Digital to an Oct. 20 email sent to the community by Wellesley College President Paula Johnson, who noted that the resident hall heads were told they have a “role and responsibility to support all students.”
“It recently came to my attention that a small number of student residence hall leaders from one dormitory sent a letter to their housemates in their capacity as resident assistants that expressed views on the Israel-Hamas conflict,” Johnson said in the email. “Our Student Life team met with these students and talked about their role and responsibility to support all students. They have since sent an apology to all students in the residence hall. That these young leaders were able to learn from this episode gives me hope.
“As president of Wellesley, I have often spoken about inclusive excellence and the importance of listening and learning across difference. Today, I feel even more strongly that this work is more necessary than ever and requires significant effort, focus, and courage.”
In follow-up comments to the student residents, Nee, on behalf of herself and other residence hall leaders, expressed “regret” for “any harm our words have caused to our residents, parents, alumni, or others in the community.”
“Hello all, I would like to address the email that was sent last night on behalf of the Munger HP and 4 Munger RAs,” Nee wrote in the email, which was later obtained by Novak. “We regret any harm our words have caused to our residents, parents, alumni, or others in the community.
“We are also truly sorry if it has dissuaded anyone from coming to us as RAs or an HP. We overstepped our roles as reslife staff in making this statement and apologize for that.
“The views expressed do not reflect the views of Paula Queenan (our CD), Cathy Bickel, the Office of Residential Life and Student Housing, Wellesley administration, the Munger community as a whole, or anyone else in the college,” Nee added. “We want our residents to know that while we never intended so, we understand how making this statement has caused hurt to specific populations in our community.
“We as a staff are committed to rebuilding trust and repairing relationships in the Munger community,” she added. “If anybody has felt affected by the message sent last night, please feel free to reach out to us to talk. We hope to hold a community space for Munger residents soon regarding this issue. All my best, Moi”
In recent weeks, several colleges have witnessed a surge in anti-Israel protests by pro-Palestinian students and student groups.