Date: August 6, 2019
FROM: President Hamilton

Dear Friends,

These past days have been tragic and disturbing. The calm of all of our summers has been shattered by senseless and inexplicable eruptions of mass gun violence in Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio.

Even as the authorities continue to investigate the motives in each shooting, in El Paso, indications are that the attack was fueled by anti-immigrant sentiments. It is agonizing that these ancient hatreds - xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, religious extremism, and the others - and their companions - ostracism, bullying, discrimination, oppression, and violence - plague us still. As a university president and professor, parent and grandparent, I am dismayed not only by their tenacity, but also by the frequent rhetoric in our national discourse that helps them persist.

With tens of thousands of gun deaths per year in the US and a record of mass shootings unequalled by any other country, we are far past the time when we should have made copious federal research funding available to summon together the best minds in psychology and mental health, sociology, law, education, public health, and other fields to study this issue and offer us solutions. Yet we do not - another example of the spurning of research and evidence-based policy-making to solve our great challenges.

Yet I will not give up hope. In a few short weeks, we will convene again for the start of a new school year. We can draw comfort from one another's company then. Perhaps more importantly, we can make our community a model of how diversity can be a basis for inclusion, disagreement a basis for reasoned debate, challenges a basis for problem-solving.

In the meantime, we have reached out to our students from the affected areas. Let us offer our deepest sympathies to the people of those communities, our commitment to stand with them, and our pledge to do what we can to end recurrences of this ghastly pattern of violence.


Andrew Hamilton

NYU's Wellness Exchange (212-443-9999 and is available 24/7. If recent events have left you in need of help and you would like to speak to someone, contact the Wellness Exchange.