USC leadership remarks on terrorist attacks in Israel

October 13, 2023

At the October 13, 2023, meeting of the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees, Board Chair Thad Westbrook and President Michael Amiridis shared the following remarks about the recent terrorist attacks in Israel.

Statement from Board of Trustees Chair Thad Westbrook:

Before we begin the business of the full Board, I want to make a few comments, as is my prerogative as Board Chair.

Many of us likely take for granted that we are safe in our day-to-day lives and that we will not be victims of attacks from terrorist groups or rogue nations as we drive to work or shop for groceries or even when we take our children to school. In a few minutes, I will ask for a moment of silence so that we might reflect on this safety that we may take for granted and in honor of those who were victims in last week’s violence in Israel.

We must condemn Hamas and the terrorist acts that destroyed innocent families. We must condemn the savage and unthinkable atrocities committed against women, children and babies in Israel.

Let us reflect on how drastically different our lives would be today if our homes and our nation had been upended by bloodshed during the last week.

Let us hope for peace in the Middle East.

Let us pray for the safe return of hostages, many of whom are Americans. Let us remember that the University of South Carolina is home to the Anne Frank Center, the only North American partner of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

It is the purpose of the Anne Frank Center to teach us “to never be bystanders but instead to stand up together against antisemitism, bigotry and inequality wherever it may exist today.”

Let us pursue higher learning to further peace, democracy and the value of all human lives.

Statement from USC President Michael Amiridis:

Our entire academic community at USC shares the world’s heartbreak over the recent and ongoing events in the Middle East and is condemning the barbaric atrocities of a terrorist organization against innocent civilians, including many children. These events are deeply affecting the lives of people around the world, including members of our USC community.

As a university, we rarely issue public statements about global events, but rather focus on actively supporting our students and faculty who may be impacted by events occurring in their home countries and those studying abroad in affected areas. We have already communicated this week with international students from the region who are on our campus, and we have confirmed that no USC students are studying abroad in that area this semester.

In the last two days, I have received several messages from Jewish students who feel vulnerable and unsafe during this period. While we will steadfastly protect free speech at our institutions, we will never allow any escalation leading to violence. And with our response today, we commit once again our support resources to all who may need it on our campus.

I hope a peaceful resolution can be reached soon to avoid more loss of life and those being held hostage can rejoin their families.

Chair Westbrook:

Please join me in a moment of silence.