EMU urges Congress, President to call for a cease-fire in Gaza

The EMU President’s Office released a statement on Tuesday, March 19, condemning the violence in Israel and Palestine and calling for policymakers to take measures to prevent the further loss of civilian life. 

The statement was sent to all EMU faculty, staff and students at the Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, campuses. The full text of the statement, titled “A Path Forward: EMU’s Statement on Peace and Justice in Israel-Palestine,” will be posted online at emu.edu/president.

In the statement, EMU President Dr. Susan Schultz Huxman, with support from the EMU Board of Trustees, urges Congress and the Presidential Administration to:

  • Call for a significant humanitarian pause – including a cease-fire in Gaza – to save lives.
  • Prioritize and protect all civilians, securing humanitarian aid into Gaza and working to secure the release of all hostages; and
  • Urge all parties to fully respect international humanitarian law. 

“The significant loss of life, as well as torture, abuse, and mass starvation occurring among innocents — mostly women and children — are war crimes,” the statement reads. “This is unconscionable. The United States cannot remain complicit in violating international law while, at the same time, calling itself the beacon of human rights and freedom.”

It further states that excerpts from the statement will be sent to members of the U.S. Congress who represent Virginia, as well as the Biden Administration. 

EMU’s commitments to peace and justice in Israel and Palestine were first outlined on Dec. 6, 2023, in a “Reaffirmation of EMU as a Peace and Justice University” message that followed its “Prayer for Peace in Israel and Palestine” in October. President Huxman’s recent statement serves as an updated response to the growing atrocities in Israel and Palestine.

This week, EMU students, faculty and staff have organized peaceful actions to call on support for a cease-fire. Since Monday morning, students have been ringing the campus bell every four seconds for the more than 33,000 people killed in Palestine and Israel since Oct. 7. Prior to these actions, the EMU Student Government Association had sent a letter to the administration and board of trustees asking for a statement in support of a cease-fire in Gaza.

Tuesday’s statement affirms that EMU will continue providing a safe, supportive and inclusive teaching and learning environment for a diversity of views. It also clarifies that EMU’s investment portfolio does not hold any shares in companies doing business in Israel-Palestine or any other war-torn countries.

The statement cites EMU’s vision — “to become ‘unifying leaders equipped with intercultural competence, oriented to peace and justice, and rooted in an active faith modeled on the life and teachings of Jesus’” — and credits students with leading the way in encouraging bold engagement.

“Our young people … are rising up and calling for peace and a stop to the killing,” it reads. “We stand in solidarity with them.”

Join the Discussion on “EMU urges Congress, President to call for a cease-fire in Gaza

  1. Thank you to the students, faculty and community that made this happen. I am an alumni that fought with a large number of students and faculty for years for “Morally Responsible Investment in Israel/Palestine” from 2007-2011, over Operation Cast Lead and the last major bombing campaign on Gaza. We didn’t get what we asked for then, so to read that investment screens have been updated, and see this statement, is a sign of progress. Then as now the need to be clear and prophetic in calling for and acting towards the end of ethnic cleansing and occupation is critical to being a true voice for peace.

  2. I greatly admire my alma mater for providing undergraduates the priceless opportunity of studying in the Middle East since 1975 when professor Dr. Willard and Mary Swartley led undergraduates to Jerusalem for a semester. Some 1,000 alumni (thanks to dedicated professors) have learned from the people of Palestine and Israel over the past 49 years via the university’s cross-cultural program. I hope EMU continues to educate and promote peace and justice in this way for decades to come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *