Addressing religious hatred

| April 3, 2024

Note: This letter originally appeared as an e-mail sent to the Hopkins community on Wednesday April 3, 2024.

Dear Johns Hopkins Community,

Fostering a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment for each member of our community is a top priority for Johns Hopkins. We recognize that these past several months have been a difficult time for many around the nation and the world, as we are seeing a disturbing rise in religious hatred, including antisemitism and Islamophobia, a trend that shows no sign of abating.

As some of you may have experienced firsthand, Johns Hopkins University is not immune to these challenges. The Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) has seen an increase in reports of antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of religious hate in our community since last October, including incidents of hateful graffiti and comments on social media.

Let us be clear: Any form of harassment or discrimination that is used to intimidate or threaten groups or individuals has no place at Johns Hopkins. All incidents reported to the Office of Institutional Equity or Johns Hopkins Public Safety are taken with the utmost seriousness and investigated. The appropriate action is taken upon the conclusion of these investigations.  

We take seriously our role in addressing religious hatred and discrimination.Throughout the fall, our offices of Diversity and Inclusion, Student Affairs, Public Safety, and Student Health and Well-Being met regularly to ensure that our community received necessary support and to share resources for addressing harassment and discrimination. Our faculty, students, and staff have hosted more than a dozen events across our campuses to provide forums for learning and discussion around the Israel-Hamas war.

We are also working with a group of partners across faiths and backgrounds to help advise and guide us on further steps to keep our community whole as we take a comprehensive approach to meeting the needs of our members of diverse faith traditions. We recently joined Hillel International’s Campus Climate Initiative to develop programs and strategies to combat antisemitism and increase supports for members of our Jewish community. We are collaborating with Interfaith America, a national organization devoted to developing interfaith understanding, to increase programming and supports through education and dialogue. We also are working with an advisor who is an imam and a scholar and leader of cross-religious dialogue in higher education who has worked with several of our peer institutions, to help us develop strategies to combat Islamophobia and better support Muslim life on our campuses.

If you ever experience discrimination or harassment, witness someone else as a target, or hear of plans to cause harm to others based on an individual’s beliefs and/or identity, please reach out to OIE at 410-516-8075 or Campus Safety at 410-516-7777. We encourage full and complete reporting whenever possible to ensure that our colleagues have the critical details they need to successfully and thoroughly follow up on each incident.

As we grapple with these challenges together, it is our responsibility to ensure that we are modeling an inclusive and pluralistic community in which each member feels valued, engaged, and empowered to succeed.



Katrina Caldwell
Chief Diversity Officer and Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion

Rachelle Hernandez
Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Shanon Shumpert
Vice Provost for Institutional Equity