Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
It is with great sorrow and sadness that I write to inform you of the death of Syracuse University graduate student Bassel Al Shahade.
Bassel, who was a native of Damascus, Syria, was killed yesterday in Homs, Syria, while working as a citizen journalist and filming the attacks against the Syrian people by the government security forces there. Bassel was a Fulbright Scholar pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Film degree in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
This is a terrible tragedy for Bassel’s family and friends in Syria and for all his fellow students, faculty and friends here in Syracuse who knew him. His death is also a tragedy for the Syrian people, who have suffered many months of tragic violence as they seek greater freedom for their nation.
As a University community, we must deplore the senseless violence by Syrian government forces that took the life of Bassel, and countless others over these many months. We hope and expect that growing international outrage, and yesterday’s condemnation of the Syrian government by the U.N. Security Council, will create a more peaceful and non-violent path to freedom for the people of Syria.
Back home in Syracuse, we know that losing any member of the campus community is painful for all of us, and may affect individuals differently. In recognition of the magnitude of this loss, and the current events in Syria, our Counseling Center, Hendricks Chapel, and Faculty and Staff Assistance Program stand ready to provide support.
Plans for memorializing Bassel on campus will occur in the coming weeks, and there will be a time for formal remembrance and reflection at the beginning of the academic year. Our thoughts are with Bassel’s loved ones and all of those connected to him at this very difficult time.