University of San Diego

Office of the President

Dear Campus Community:

I am deeply saddened to be writing to you once again about an act of terror in a house of worship. Saturday's shooting at Chabad of Poway synagogue is yet another tragedy, particularly disturbing in that it brings recent violence against people of faith to our local community, to people and places many of us know well. My heart goes out to those affected by this latest incident, especially Lori Gilbert Kaye, who was killed, as well as Noya Dahan, Almog Peretz and Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, all of whom were injured.

Coming on the last day of Passover, one of the holiest holidays in the Jewish calendar, and following so quickly the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka and New Zealand, the news of the shooting in Poway is horrific. While it can be difficult to hold on to hope, Rabbi Goldstein has offered wise encouragement. On Saturday afternoon, just a few hours after the shooting, he said, "We need to battle darkness with light. No matter how dark the world is, we need to think of light. A little bit of light pushes away a lot of darkness... We need to do random acts of kindness. We need to tilt the scale. There is so much darkness in the world, but you and I have the ability to change." 

We will be hosting a candlelight vigil on Thursday, May 2, at 6:00 p.m. in the Garden of the Sea. This vigil is our community’s opportunity to remember all those impacted by the violence in Poway, to pray for an end to the evil of anti-Semitism and all forms of hate, and dedicate ourselves to being the light that Rabbi Goldstein calls us to become.

In light of the large number of students, staff, administrators and faculty members from Poway or currently residing there, Saturday’s shooting may elicit a strong emotional response. Anyone who would like assistance in processing the recent events is encouraged to access our campus' various support systems. Students can access a Mental Health Counselor at any time by calling the USD Counseling Center at (619) 260-4655. Students can also visit the Counseling Center located in Serra Hall, Room 300. Additionally, the staff of University Ministry is available to speak with anyone who is grieving, struggling or otherwise in need of support. University Ministry is located in University Center 238 and can be reached at (619) 260-4251 or USD employees can access Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services.


James T. Harris III, D.Ed. 

University of San Diego

Office of the President
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492