Letter to University of St Andrews Regarding Rector Stella Maris

BRISMES has written to Professor Dame Sally Mapstone FRSE, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews to express deep concern over the University’s response to Rector Stella Maris’ recent communication to students in the wake of the catastrophic violence and loss of life in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

We believe that the Rector’s letter is well crafted, scholarly, and evinces great sensitivity to the diverse community of St. Andrew’s, and that university leaders should be proud to have such a Rector in their midst. We therefore urge the University’s senior staff to reconsider the position expressed in their public statement of November 24, lest it undermine the confidence of scholars and students that the University provides a safe environment for all to debate, to be heard and to stay safe. 

We urge the University’s senior staff to lead by example by supporting open scholarship and debate on this issue, and by accepting that a plurality of views within the law is both legitimate and a necessary step to bringing those views into dialogue, thus strengthening the student community, however uncomfortable some may feel being exposed to these.