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Dean's Office

An important message to the Penn GSE community



December 8, 2023

Dear Penn GSE Community,

We are all watching the national headlines and news reports about Penn and antisemitism with anguish and confusion. 

This shouldn’t need saying, but nonetheless, I feel compelled to make Penn GSE’s position clear – antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hate have no place in our school. None. 

Our mission as the Graduate School of Education is to educate. Before we can educate, before we can listen, before we can learn, we must feel safe in our community. Safety, both physical and emotional, is GSE’s priority. And thus, it must be said: I condemn calls for genocide. Intimidation, bias, and harassment are unacceptable and will not be tolerated at GSE. 

Although we continue to engage in the inspiring, difficult, and productive conversations for which GSE is known, we must acknowledge that incidences of intolerance and hate are happening within our community. Penn GSE’s leadership team is working tirelessly to make sure everyone feels safe and is given every opportunity to thrive and be fully present in their learning and work here. We are committed to investigating and providing concrete responses to reported incidences of bias. Although much of this work is confidential, please know that we are unwavering in our commitment to responding quickly and forcefully with appropriate action. As a reminder, here are resources for reporting bias.

The challenges that we face today force us to consider a critically important question: What does it mean to be a citizen of our community here at Penn GSE? What do we owe each other – as students, faculty, alumni, and staff – in the face of such heartache and destruction?

I believe we owe each other, and ourselves, grace. Grace to make mistakes and learn from them. Grace to hold each other accountable, but to do so kindly and with recognition of and respect for the pain and anger we feel at the injustice and inhumanity unfolding around us and across the globe. Grace to continue our work countering hate, building bridges, and fostering learning. And grace to grieve the fissures that have exposed themselves on our campus and to accept that on some days, at some times, it all feels too much.

For those of you who celebrate, I wish you a happy and joyous Hanukkah. Hanukkah is a time of dedication and renewal, a time of miracles and light. And with this in mind, I want to close with a message for our Muslim community, for our Jewish community, and for people of all faiths, races, creeds, and identities: You are welcome here. Our strength is all of us, together.

All my very best,


Dean's Office Staff

Diana Johnson
Executive Assistant, Dean's Office

Mark Harmon-Vaught
Chief of Staff

Kate Hellings
Chief People Officer

Matthew Hartley
Deputy Dean

Susan Yoon
Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs

Raquel M. Arredondo
Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Darlyncia Nobrun
Dean’s Office Coordinator