Message from the Principal and the Rector
University of St Andrews Principal, Professor Dame Sally Mapstone FRSE, and Rector of the University, Stella Maris, issued the following message to all staff and students on Monday 27 November.
Dear Colleagues and Students,
I am writing to update you on a serious issue which is currently dividing our community.
As some of you know, the Rector issued a message last week to all students calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. The message was welcomed by some in our community, and has deeply upset others.
It is important to state here, however, that all of us, including those in our community who were distressed by or disagreed with elements of her message, share her stated desire for peace, and an end to the loss of innocent lives in Gaza and Israel.
The Rector and I met today to discuss the effects of her message on our community.
We have agreed to a process of mediation in which she and I will work together to try to restore an environment of inclusivity and respect.
In the first instance this means that our Graduation ceremonies this week, which the Rector will attend, will have only one focus, which is the achievement and academic success of our graduands.
The Rector wishes to acknowledge the distress which elements of her message have caused to some students, staff and alumni in the St Andrews community. She also wishes it to be known that she will advocate for the voices of Palestinian, Jewish, BAME and other groups of students affected directly, and indirectly, by the war in Gaza and Israel to be heard.
I wish to acknowledge the Rector’s stated commitment to put student interests ahead of all else, and I wish to unreservedly condemn the abuse she has received from sources outside the University in the wake of her message. Racism is utterly abhorrent, in all its forms.
The Rector and I intend to pursue further mediation with the aim of restoring confidence amongst all in our community that St Andrews is a place in which all should feel safe, heard and supported.
We hope our joint aim is one which will find support across this peace-loving, principled but inclusive community.
The Rector has been fully consulted on, agrees with, and has jointly signed this message.
Professor Dame Sally Mapstone FRSE
Principal and Vice-Chancellor
Rector of the University of St Andrews
Message from University of St Andrews Principal, Professor Dame Sally Mapstone FRSE, and Rector of the University, Stella Maris, issued to all staff and students on Monday 27 November.