President Robert L. Manuel > Notes from Rob > 2023-24 > A path forward

A path forward

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

We are all watching closely as colleges across the country navigate protests and conflict. We know that many in our own community are feeling pain and anger and considering how to engage with issues that matter to us. 

The guiding principles of leadership we shared in October continue to ground us. We remain steadfastly devoted to academic freedom and free speech. We are unwavering in our commitment to ensure that no acts of hatred, violence, Islamophobia, or antisemitism are tolerated in our community.

As a Catholic, Vincentian institution, we hope we can continue to foster productive dialogue that leads to positive change. We write today with some intentions for our community:

Raise your voice, respect your community
Peaceful protest long has been a legitimate means of expression at DePaul. As an institution of higher education, we teach our students to engage in civil, meaningful discussion. We are committed to fostering spaces where our university community can make their voices heard. At the same time, we have the obligation to maintain an environment that is conducive to academic success and that is safe for all. 

Ensuring that these ideals come through in our daily lives takes preparation and care. Should a group of DePaul community members decide to protest, our hope is to establish a dialogue. A group of senior leaders, staff and faculty is ready to engage with those protesting and work toward a productive dialogue. Their goal is to empower students to make their voices heard, while also respecting the rights of their fellow students to pursue their education. 

While it is our fervent desire to promote open dialogue in a spirit of peace, we also must protect the safety of our campus community. Violence, harassment, or intimidation as well as actions that interfere with university operations or damage property will lead to immediate disciplinary actions.

Stay engaged, stay hopeful
We are inspired by the pleas for peace shared by Pope Francis. Just like our namesake St. Vincent de Paul, we advocate for non-violence and compassion. Our prayers are with the people of Israel and Palestine – and all the world’s population affected by war.  It is our most sincere prayer that the world’s leaders will work toward peace. Consider attending an academic event, student gathering or religious service that fosters your intellectual, civic, and spiritual engagement in issues that matter most to you - and that allow you to serve as an agent of peace in our community. 

As we move toward the end of the year, may we prepare to celebrate in unity, knowing that our university community came together during these difficult times and reflected a spirit of charity and compassion toward one another. 


Robert L. Manuel

Salma Ghanem

Sherri Sidler
Executive Vice President and CFO

Gene Zdziarski
Vice President, Student Affairs

Mark Laboe
Interim Vice President, Mission and Ministry