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February 16, 2015

Dear University of Miami Family,

The murder of three Muslim college students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, last week was a devastating and senseless loss of life. The victims were born in the U.S. of Arab descent and were pursuing our shared American dream—to live productive lives and to make the world a better place through education and service. That their futures should be cut short by violence is a terrible reminder that rage can obliterate reason and destroy our very humanity in an instant.

We don’t yet really know the reason for the rampage, but many American Muslims fear that it was a criminal anti-Islamic act. Certainly there is too much violence and hatred in this world, and as a community of higher learning, we must assure all members of our U family that we provide a welcoming and caring environment.

The taking of innocent lives—from the three students in Chapel Hill to the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris last month and the shootings this Saturday in Copenhagen—is an assault on each of us. Extremism of any kind closes our minds and hearts and diminishes us as a whole. We must reject violence and embrace respect and compassion.

Building a Better U Together
At the U, we transform lives through teaching, research and service

Let us continue to fight prejudice and intolerance not in isolation but collectively as a campus united by a common purpose.