The University of Maryland is establishing a task force to address antisemitism and Islamophobia on campus, university president Darryll Pines announced in a campuswide email Monday.
The creation of the task force, which will be composed of students, faculty and staff, comes amid a surge of violence in Israel and Palestine.
More than 13,000 people in Palestine and 1,200 people in Israel have been killed since Oct. 7, the Associated Press reported Monday.
“As these numbers rose, so did incidents of hate and bias across the country,” Pines said in the email. “The alarming international rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia at many college campuses, including our own, must be addressed head-on.”
The task force — whose membership will be announced in the coming days, according to the email — will work with senior vice president and provost Jennifer King Rice, student affairs vice president Patty Perillo, diversity and inclusion vice president Georgina Dodge and the University Senate.
The email also announced an interim university policy on chalking, which will restrict chalk messages to Hornbake Plaza and the sidewalk outside the southeast entrance to Stamp Student Union.
“These designated chalking areas will be maintained and refreshed on a regular basis,” the email said.
University student groups have chalked messages this month during protests related to Israel and Palestine.
The University Senate will pass a final policy on chalking and review existing signage practices on campus in the future, Pines wrote in the email.
University of Maryland Police hired 80 additional auxiliary police staff members as part of an increased police presence on campus, according to the email. UMPD has also reestablished ID checks over the past two weeks at campus entrances between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. each day.