UConn, we need to talk  


Dear President Maric, The Gladstein Family Human Rights Institute, UConn Faculty and Staff:   

We are a collective of Graduate Students across the University of Connecticut Campuses, from multiple departments and programs with various social identities and lived experiences. We are writing because we stand in solidarity with the struggle of Palestinians for liberation and survival amidst occupation, apartheid, and genocide. We are deeply concerned and saddened by all harm and loss of life, Israeli and Palestinian, and insist that UConn reject violence, militarism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and war in all its forms.  

As a community, we have failed to create an environment that makes it possible for us to have honest, clarifying and contextualized dialogues about the urgent concerns and needs of Palestinians, even in the midst of ongoing violence. UConn, like many campuses across the country, has unfortunately become a space where students, faculty and staff face silence, reprisal, or rebuke for expressing solidarity with Palestine.   

We are writing this letter to address the imbalanced narrative from UConn administration, including the silence on the ongoing genocide and humanitarian crisis in Palestine, erasing the experiences and suffering of the Palestinian people. There is also a lack of space for UConn community members to engage in balanced dialogue on the ongoing crisis in Palestine.   

We are sending this open letter of solidarity with the UConn Students for Justice in Palestine and associated student organizations who reached out to campus administrators on Oct. 14, 2023. Since then, the genocide and humanitarian crisis in occupied Gaza, and now the West Bank, has   

horrifically escalated, leaving more than 5,000 Palestinians killed, an additional 15,000 injured and over 400,000 homeless, almost all of whom are civilians.  

Multiple organizations focusing on global human rights, including Amnesty International and experts from the United Nations, have acknowledged that Israel is an apartheid state, occupying Palestinian territory for over 75 years. As stated by Amnesty International, “Israel imposes a system of oppression and domination against Palestinians across all areas under its control: in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and against Palestinian refugees, in order to benefit the expansion of the settler colonial state of Israel. This amounts to apartheid as prohibited in international law.” Amnesty International details more extensively the system of apartheid imposed on Palestinians.  

Further, in direct defiance of international humanitarian law, such as Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the government of Israel continues to take part in war crimes, including: “Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities… Attacking or bombarding, by whatever means, towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended and which are not military objectives… Intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not military objectives.”  

These violations have been consistently met with silence by the UConn administration.  

The deliberate blocking of civilian aid, clean water, fuel and electricity to Gaza, as imposed by the State of Israel, further exacerbates the humanitarian crisis inside Gaza to disastrous proportions. This conflict continues to escalate as the lives of an untold and increasing number of thousands of innocents perish by Israeli military bombings and attacks. If we do not take action, we, as an institution, are complicit. As stated in the letter sent by the UConn Students for Justice in Palestine, “We unequivocally condemn the killing of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians.”  We believe in the value and sanctity of human life, human life that, for Palestinians, has been consistently denied.  

We ask the University, the Gladstein Family Human Rights Institute and President Maric to fulfill the demands of the letter written by Students for Justice in Palestine, which include being consistent in their stances on human rights by denouncing the apartheid state of Israel and its repeated war crimes. While we are committed to our condemnation of the killing of both Israeli and Palestinian people, the Oct. 9 statement contained a one-sided narrative that failed to even use the word Palestinian, thereby avoiding acknowledgment of the suffering of Palestinian people altogether. We also call on UConn to divest from any initiatives that support the Israeli apartheid state. As Israel continues to perpetuate ethnic cleansing against Palestinians, we urge UConn to use its platform to speak up as they have for other human rights violations and acknowledge the humanity of a group of people who have been systematically silenced.  

As Graduate Students, we call on UConn to expand course offerings to include the Palestinian perspectives. We would also add that UConn needs to create a campus-wide course on settler colonialism (similar to the model of the anti-Black racism course) with an emphasis on the history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. We all need to be educated and informed so that we understand how to situate this present tragedy in its historical context, as this would help with mitigating the need to point fingers and instead start creating solutions.   

Thank you for your time and consideration,  

A Collective of UConn Graduate Students  


  1. I’m a human, a mother, and a UConn staff member. Business as usual is not ok. I thank you for this letter – and fully support it with every ounce of my being. I’m searching for statements from the Dodd Center for Human Rights, and others… and come back empty handed. Silence is complicity. Silence is death. FREE PALESTINE.

  2. Why do you write an editorial allegedly representing numerous people and organizations and you don’t sign your names. I have signed numerous letters in the past 3 weeks supporting Israel’s right to defend herself and I proudly signed all of them. I know I am in the right side of history. This WAR was started by Hamas not Israel. Hamas is a danger to Israel and has a right to defend herself. The same way the US will have to proactively act to protect itself from those supporting Hamas living amongst us.

  3. Thank you for writing this and I wish President Maric, Gladstein Family Human Rights Institute, faculty, and staff would not ignore such a pressing issue on campus

  4. Remember back in 2002 the massacres’ of Jenin? the PA said it was 500 and then thousands and then it turned out to be 50.

    Hamas never signed any peace treaty and to be frank they only *won* 45% of the vote. They had no elections since because they are a religious institution not really a political one. What specifically has Hamas ever done for its people? Name one thing…go ahead..

    Look if this was tank vs tank or plane vs plane it’s one thing. Look at the Ukraine. But when you shoot up portable bathrooms and go into trenches and shoot people that are unarmed and running away that isn’t war, that’s terrorism and yes that *is* genocide. That hospital was a accidental bomb by islamic jyhad that blew up, not the IDF. There’s no evidence and yet they try to egg it on. Many of the governments want another conflict because that way it gives an excuse for oil to go up to gain profit. If you *really* cared about human rights in the middle east get an EV and live in an urban area instead of the backyard of Ma and NY (that’s what CT really is)

    I have a background in this and I’m partially middle eastern and frankly no one cares about hamas. Remember what happened when arafat died? they found billions in reserve and I know this because I remember it, I didn’t have to google it or rely on a professor. Wisdom matters more than twitter feeds and fake accounts out of context. Arafats wife was living in Paris and Malta. We don’t even have evidence that the hamas leadership is even in the gaza strip so these poor sob’s lobbing these rockets are being used as a cheap prop. It’s like Putin with Russia. He knows he cannot win but he keeps sending people because well…he doesn’t really like them.

    We need students to get out of the tofu curtain. You claim to know more about the West Bank instead of Willamantic. You know more about the Gaza Strip vs Glastonbury. Seriously the lack of local and institutional knowledge and wisdom is showing at uconn.

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