Addressing the War in Israel and Gaza

GW leaders urge compassion, patience and support for one another.

October 9, 2023


George Washington University President Ellen M. Granberg and Dean of Students and Vice Provost for Student Affairs Colette Coleman were among GW leaders to address the war in Israel and Gaza that broke out during the weekend.

In a message to the entire GW community, Granberg wrote that she was “deeply shocked and saddened” by the recent attack on Israel and the continued violence in the region and that the “tragic loss of life has profoundly impacted many members of the university, including those with family members or friends living in the area.”

The university is actively working to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of those impacted directly and those affected more broadly.

In her message to the campus community, Granberg acknowledged that “times of war are fraught with many difficult and complex emotions,” recognizing that people may feel a combination of fear, anxiety and anger. Because GW is a university with a rich diversity of identities, experiences and opinions, Granberg urged the community to hold itself to the “highest standards of engagement, debate and civil discourse when gathering in person or conversing online.”

“Absolutely everyone deserves to feel welcome and safe on our campuses. Violence, discrimination or harassment against any member of the Jewish, Israeli, Palestinian, Arab or Muslim communities will not be tolerated at GW,” Granberg wrote.

“We are all a part of a shared community, and this is an important moment for us to come together. In the days ahead, I urge you to show compassion, patience and support for one another. As we hope for an end to this war, let us keep those suffering in our thoughts.”

Acknowledging that different people experience these events in different ways, Granberg encouraged the utilization of resources available to all members of the GW community, including those available through the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Community EngagementStudent AffairsHuman Resources; or Faculty Affairs.

In a message to students who have close connections to the region, Coleman also shared resources for support in recognizing the hurt and pain times of war can cause, especially for those directly affected by the recent events. Like Granberg, Coleman expects in the coming days and weeks that there will be individuals across multiple identities who want to express opinions and feelings, resulting in rising tensions among those who disagree. In addition to condemning any cases of racism, hatred, discrimination or bias against Jewish, Muslim, Palestinian or Arab communities, Coleman asked for the GW community to show empathy at this time.

“I also ask that you reach out personally to those who may need additional support at this time,” wrote Coleman, reiterating that everyone deserves to feel welcome and safe on GW campuses. 

More resources for student support are listed below:

Counseling and Psychological Services

Mental health professionals are available to speak to GW students and can consult with faculty, staff or parents about any mental health-related concerns, if desired. Counseling and Psychological Services is available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 202-994-5300. Additionally, drop-in hours are available Monday through Friday from noon to 4 p.m., and AcademicLiveCare virtually connects students to available clinicians at their convenience. More details regarding drop-in hours and about how the program works are on the Health Center website.

Academic Assistance

Students facing academic difficulty in the coming weeks are encouraged to talk with their professors for extensions or incompletes and work with your academic adviser for documentation and support. The CARE Team is also available to guide students who are experiencing academic challenges.


Students, faculty, staff and families who may be concerned about a student in need of additional support are encouraged to reach out to the university’s CARE Team. Sometimes students don’t realize that they need help or may be afraid to ask. The CARE Team can help break down any perceived barriers to accessing campus support services. Those who are or know someone personally affected by recent events should submit a CARE referral.

Other Resources

Those with other concerns or are not sure where to find support should email [email protected].