Message of Safety and Support to Cougar Family - University of Houston
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Message of Safety and Support to Cougar Family

October 16, 2023

Dear Cougar Family,

I am deeply saddened by the war in Israel and Gaza. My heart goes out to all those directly or indirectly affected by this terrorist attack and ensuing violence on innocent victims. Please know that along with the entire Cougar family, I am heartbroken and pray for peace and resolution.

As one of the most diverse universities in the nation, with students from around the world, I know that this has hit so many of us hard. The University of Houston is a place where we embrace our diversity — that means we accept our differences and show compassion and respect for one another, above all else. As we say in our mission statement, our diversity gives us strength … and has made us a shining star among all other universities. Let's holdfast to our core values and show solidarity for peace.

We have been in contact with students and scholars from the conflict areas, particularly those whose families have been impacted, offering resources and support. The University of Houston Police Department is working closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to share intelligence information. They have increased patrols at the A.D. Bruce Religion Center and are in communication with the staff to ensure that any concerns they might have are being addressed.

I know that this has been trying for so many. Whether you've been affected directly or not, violence and the senseless loss of life can take its toll on the heart and mind. We wish to affirm that the safety, both physical and emotional, of every individual within our community remains a steadfast priority. If you're struggling and need someone to talk to, please access our counseling services.

Students can find a variety of assistance through the CoogsCARE student mental health resources webpage, while faculty and staff can access EAP services for free and confidential counseling. Remember, it's OK to not be OK. And it's OK to seek help. Don't hesitate to access these services for help.

Please know that as your president, I care deeply for each one of you. Moreover, I plead with you to take care of one another. The University is not simply buildings, grades, and scores; its people, a caring hand, a person willing to lighten the load. So, let us show grace and kindness in our behavior. Let us have compassion and empathy for those who are in pain and anguish right now. Let's pray for peace and resolution. For this is who we are.

Wishing you comfort during this difficult time,

Renu Khator
President, University of Houston