A Message to the Brooklyn Law School Community on Coming Together Amid Traumatic World Events
Dear Students and Colleagues,
As we enter the third week since the horrific terror attack of October 7, I write to express my deep gratitude for the way so many of you have rallied to support one another, to acknowledge the ongoing pain and anxiety many are experiencing, and to outline additional steps the Law School will be taking in the week ahead to ensure that Brooklyn Law School offers a warm, safe, and supportive learning environment for every member of our community.
For many in the BLS community, the impact of the traumatic events of the past 16 days is profoundly personal and includes not only anxiety for loved ones in the region, but concerns for the risk of violence and hatred here at home. Already, we have seen despicable acts of antisemitism and Islamophobia across the country, including in the Borough of Brooklyn and on university campuses elsewhere in New York City. In meeting with scores of students, including many Jewish and Muslim students, I know these events have left many of you feeling painfully isolated and vulnerable.
In a time of such crisis, it is imperative that we commit ourselves to preserve the core values of our own community. Nearly 125 years ago, when the broader society was riven with racism, xenophobia, sexism, and religious persecution, Brooklyn Law School was founded as a haven where talented students from all backgrounds, origins, and faiths could excel and prepare themselves for transformative leadership. At a time when most law schools were highly exclusionary, Brooklyn Law School’s first classes were comprised mostly of recent immigrants, including Muslims from Syria, Jews from Eastern Europe, Catholics from Cuba, Ireland and Southern Europe, as well as African Americans and large numbers of women. We remain a diverse and vibrant community today, and just as committed to cultivating an academic community defined by ambition, resilience and dedication, mutual respect, genuine care, and service to others.
In the past two weeks, I have been immensely proud of the way I have seen so many of you live out those values under the most trying circumstances. In the days to come, we will undoubtedly all be called upon to demonstrate them in the face of new pressures – to show empathy and care to classmates and colleagues in pain, to offer one another mutual support through kindnesses small and large, to denounce and reject the poisons of antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hatred, and to extend respect and forbearance for others whose views and experience are different from our own.
We know that the crisis in the Middle East will continue to be felt well into the future and the Law School will continue to seek ways to support students, staff, and faculty. Among other measures, we are offering the following special programs this week:
- Community Breakfasts: This week, with the support of the Student Bar Association and the First Generation Professional Students Association, we will be hosting Community Breakfasts each morning on Tuesday through Friday. Students, staff, and faculty are invited to stop by the Student Lounge between 8:00-10:00 a.m. for coffee, tea, and light breakfast items. There is no agenda or programming, just an opportunity to share a moment of community and mutual support with classmates, deans, and faculty.
- Educational Program on Dealing with Trauma: Professor Diana Horsch, who is both a lawyer and a licensed therapist, will lead an educational program entitled “Trauma 101: What It Is + What To Do About It.” The program is open to everyone, including students, staff, and faculty, and will be helpful for people to understand what they and others in our community are going through. The program will be offered twice this week: On Tuesday, from 12:45-1:45 p.m., in Room 604 in person; and on Friday, from 12:45-1:45 p.m. on Zoom.
- Advice on Studying and Academic Work in a Time of Stress: Professors Flora Midwood and Carrie Teitcher will lead a special program with tips on how students contending with unusual and significant stress can try to maintain focus on study and keep up with their academic work. The date, time, and location for this program will be announced shortly.
Of course, in addition to these special programs, Deans Baer, Kanwar, Lang, and I remain available to meet with students to offer support and address any concerns. We also continue to work on other initiatives and invite ideas about additional ways we can offer meaningful support and community in the future.
In closing, I am deeply grateful for everything so many of you are doing to model our values and for your continuing partnership in ensuring that BLS remains a true haven for every member of our community to do their best work while preparing for careers of great impact in a world that desperately needs the leadership of talented and compassionate problem-solvers.
President, Joseph Crea Dean, and Professor of Law