Loyola University Chicago

Office of the President


How Do We Answer Hate?

(This message has been updated since its original posting on October 30)

October 30, 2018

Dear Members of the Loyola Community,

The horrific events at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh remind us of how hatred corrodes our society as it erupts in destructive rage; shattering lives, breaking our hearts, and shaking our sense of safety and civility. All decent people are grief-stricken by this anti-Semitic violence. Our first thoughts and all our prayers are with the victims, their families, the Tree of Life congregation, and the community in Pittsburgh.

It is our community, too. An attack like this, especially in a place of worship, is an attack on our social fabric, and we all feel the pain of it. No words can convey our pain, horror, and outrage.

Coupled with other recent hate crimes, it may feel like our sacred spaces of faith and even our very democracy are under attack. America was conceived as a place where there should be no need for armed guards to protect those places where we come together—our schools, markets, and houses of worship.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel observed that while “some are guilty, all are responsible.” Our responsibility at Loyola is to create a safe, sacred space of deep inquiry and debate, a space in which we can come together from many backgrounds and perspectives to address our most urgent problems and challenges. Together, we engage in reasoned discourse and collective action to help the poor and marginalized because of our faith tradition. We can continue to speak out against racism and bigotry and work to resolve deeper institutional and societal biases. We can exercise our hard-earned franchise to vote.

The Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution is holding one of its Community Circles tomorrow, Thursday, November 1, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Regis Hall, Seminar Room, to help process reactions to the Tree of Life shooting in a supportive group atmosphere. Community Circles are a restorative justice practice to foster open dialogue, honesty, and attentive listening.

As we pray for the victims, let us also pray for the strength and courage to surmount our own preconceptions and fears, to listen to and respect the views of others, to see God in all others, and hold close the sacredness of every human life. 



Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD