Dear Rutgers University – Newark community members,

Recent weeks have brought devastating news to us from around the nation and around the world, whether owing to natural or human-made disasters—or those of mixed origin—from the hurricanes that have hit the South and Caribbean and the earthquakes in Mexico, to droughts, food shortages, and inter-group conflict in Central and East Africa, to ongoing armed conflict in the Middle East, and attempts at ethnic cleansing in East and South Asia. Our hearts ache in empathy for those suffering in these and so many other places, but the ache is especially intense in a diverse community such as ours where so many of us maintain close bonds with family, friends, and colleagues in areas now facing dire situations.

At times like this, we see vividly and feel viscerally how deeply connected we all really are, that humanity really is a family, and we are moved to act in sympathy and solidarity. With that in mind, we wanted to share with you the website of Charity Navigator, which provides links to global relief organizations and information about their effectiveness in making maximal impact. Further, we will provide information in the weeks to come regarding opportunities being organized by our Commission on Diversity and Transformation for RU-N community members to participate in relief efforts on the ground during upcoming breaks in the academic calendar.

At the same time, we need to be particularly attentive to taking care of ourselves at times like this, too, acknowledging that our health, especially our mental health, may bear extraordinary burdens.  Please remember that counseling is readily available; RU-N students may contact the Counseling Center at 973.353.5805 and employees across Rutgers may contact University Human Resources/Faculty Staff & Assistance Program at 848.932.3956.

In such challenging times, as we wonder where the world is heading, we need to reach out to each other to re-orient ourselves. As our 2017 commencement speaker, Eboo Patel, once said, “When thousands of people discover that their story is also someone else’s story, they have the chance to write a new story together.” If any community can rise to that challenge, it is ours.

In sympathy and solidarity,

Nancy Cantor, Chancellor

Sherri-Ann Butterfield, Executive Vice Chancellor

Jerome D. Williams, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost