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Responding to hate on the Rock

In one week, the Rock has brought out the best and the worst. We celebrated the outpouring of love for the young Volunteer who made his own T-shirt, and someone beautifully depicted the shirt on the Rock. Last night, someone covered that message of love with an anti-Semitic hate message. We condemn that hate aimed toward members of our Jewish community, and we understand that words are not enough.

Vol is a verb. Being a Volunteer means taking action. We are seeking Volunteers to join us in uniting around how we respond to hate on the Rock. We want to work together to create a movement around what we want to be. I will start by meeting with members of our Jewish student community this morning. We will expand the conversation to all Vols so we can work together on an action plan and will share more in the coming days. There are activities planned across campus with the goal of bringing Volunteers together—like Dear World today and United at the Table next week. I invite you to join in.

To kick off the “Vol Is a Verb” campaign, students, faculty, and staff were energized last night to take part in the first part of Dear World. We wrote messages on our bodies that tell our stories. We laughed, we shared, we learned. Those are the messages of who we are. We will not let hate stop our drive to create a community that ensures the people behind our stories matter and belong.