Earlier this week, Temple University was thrust into the media spotlight after the remarks of one of our faculty, Marc Lamont Hill, during the United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
The story has been covered widely, including this story from Friday’s Philadelphia Inquirer. As you can see, his comments sparked strong responses from those who were offended by his language. I have spoken with some; I have heard their concerns; and understand their reactions to the “river to sea” reference, a phrase many associate with a perceived threat.
Let me be clear: Professor Hill does not represent Temple University, and his views are his own. Further, Professor Hill’s right to express his opinion is protected by the Constitution to the same extent as any other private citizen.
It is also vitally important to remember our values: Temple condemns in the strongest possible terms all anti-Semitic, racist or incendiary language, hate speech, calls to violence, and the disparagement of any person or persons based on religion, nationality, race, gender, sexual orientation or identity. The university, in the best interest of its community, will take necessary and proper action to protect these values when they are threatened. At the same time, we pride ourselves on our diversity, in all its forms. We will always be a place where divergent points of view will find a home. These are the values the Temple community embraces.
Thank you for your commitment to Temple’s ideals, which have withstood the tests of more than 130 years. And thank you for all you do to make Temple the welcoming community it is.
Richard M. Englert