President’s Office

President’s speeches, letters, and articles

Subject: Working Together as a Community

November 21, 2023

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

On Sunday afternoon, a convoy of vehicles displaying Israeli and U.S. flags drove through the east campus parking lot and Eliot Circle. These external individuals confronted some Reed students in ways that were dangerous and intimidating. From what we know at this time, the drivers and passengers were people who are not part of the Reed College community, and their threatening actions were not welcome on our campus. 

Community Safety reported the incident to the Portland Police Bureau and has increased the number of patrols of our campus parking lots and roadways. If any further actions of this kind occur, we will consider additional measures. The safety of our campus has been and will remain a priority.  
Reed is deeply committed to the right to free speech and dissent on our campus. However, we do not condone the behaviors of those who brought their antagonistic convoy onto our campus this weekend. We will do everything within our power to prevent activities that threaten our students, faculty, or staff. Our college is a space for inquiry, learning, and exploration, and it is vital that Reed is a safe and welcoming place. 

As a college, we strongly condemn antisemitism, Islamophobia, and racism. No one in our Reed community should feel afraid to live, work, or study on campus while wearing a symbol of their nationality or faith. Reed College welcomes, supports, and stands with our Arab, Jewish, Muslim, and Palestinian community members. We see you, we hear you, and we care about you. 

The past few weeks have tested our resolve, and we need to lean on our shared humanity that allows us to offer grace and care to one another. It is clear there is deep pain and heartfelt passion from everyone who is involved in advocating for or against any of the parties involved in this horrific tragedy, yet we have an opportunity to learn from one another and understand where each of us is coming from. 

We are hearing from members of our community who are open to conversations across differences and would welcome opportunities to connect. Student Life will hold small group discussions with students in the coming weeks to create space for conversations, where the point is to listen, hear, and inhabit the perspective of others. 

This is only a part of Reed’s continued efforts to find ways to be in community with one another, and I hope you will take part in this important work.


Audrey Bilger
Reed College