Statement on President's Patriot Plan for Community Safety and Well-Being


Dear fellow Patriots:

There is no avoiding this sobering truth: This is a fraught moment for the world, our country, and our university, with increased acts of violence and hostility toward members of the Jewish and Muslim communities. In particular, hateful expressions against the Jewish community are on the rise right on our own campus, including a very recent attempt to leaflet the Fairfax campus with deeply offensive antisemitic rhetoric. This disgusting behavior is not normal for Mason, and it is fundamentally at odds with who we are as a university community. We repudiate it just as we repudiated the terrorist attacks on Israel last month. While we must acknowledge others’ right to express themselves as they have, we as a community also claim our right to call out such expressions as ignorant and hateful, and with no place at George Mason University.

For many, the safety and well-being that we value at George Mason University feel threatened, and I am writing to share what we are doing to preserve those cherished hallmarks of our community.

In my last message about the unfolding conflict in Israel and Gaza, I shared that security efforts are in place to address safety concerns, and services are in place to assist people in crisis. Since that time, and in responses to heightened tensions nationally and on campus, we have increased security to stay ahead of threats that may emerge without warning. In addition, we have organized pre-existing campus services into a coordinated approach, which we are calling the Patriot Plan for Community Safety and Well-Being. All of the information in this message is now contained on the plan’s web page, which designed as a one-stop online resource page where you can access information and updates on this topic.

Each of us came here to improve ourselves and our community in our own personal ways. We should be assured that we can do so without fear for our safety and well-being. We are all in this together, and I hope you find this resource helpful.


Gregory Washington



Patriot Plan for Community Safety and Well-Being

The safety and well-being of all students, faculty, and staff is of paramount concern to George Mason University, especially in light of recent events. We are further enhancing our already increased standards of protection and care to address safety and well-being concerns that are increasing across our university, while maintaining the rights, privacy, and dignity of all in our community. Our safety and well-being protocols meet or exceed the additional standards announced by the Biden Administration on October 30, as well as guidance from Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin on October 31.


To that end, we offer the following comprehensive approach to violence awareness and prevention:


1. Enhanced Law Enforcement Presence 

Mason Police are increasing protection efforts for the entire University community, while also upholding federal and state laws regarding protests and constitutionally protected speech on public property. Police have increased their presence at gatherings, are providing additional security to high profile events focusing on the current crisis in the Middle East, and are engaging federal and state authorities as directed in recent days by President Biden and Governor Glenn Youngkin, including stepped-up coordination with the US departments of Homeland Security and Justice, the Commonwealth’s Attorney General, and local and state police agencies. In addition, you may see increased patrols and presence in high-traffic areas frequented by students.


2. Enhanced Enforcement of Codes of Conduct

Standards of conduct guide all student, faculty, and staff behavior. They are observed and enforced at all times. That includes the Mason Student Code of Conduct, the Instructional and Research Faculty Handbook, the Administrative and Professional Faculty Handbook, and the Classified Staff code set forth in the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management HR Policies. None of these permit threatening behavior, harassment, property destruction (which includes the removal and destruction of posters, memorials, banners, etc.), or disorderly conduct.


3. Complaint Reporting and Response Resource

Mason's Violence Awareness and Prevention initiative provides comprehensive resources for preventing and responding to acts of violence in the workplace, including an online clearinghouse on reporting acts of violence and discrimination, including information and referral on:

  • The university's permanent Threat Assessment Team
  • Ways to report violence or threats of violence to police, anonymously, if preferred.
  • Report possible violations of the Student Code of Conduct to the Office of Student Conduct.
  • Mandatory reporting requirements of certain crimes pursuant to the Clery Act.
  • File a report to the Equal Opportunity/Non-Discrimination unit about acts of possible prohibited discrimination, including that which is based on race, religion, national origin, disability, etc.


4. Compassionate Listening Sessions

University Life is now offering individual Compassionate Listening Sessions. These are in-person conversations with Mason staff members who can provide you with compassionate support through careful listening. This is not a therapeutic service and is not meant to replace therapy. This avenue provides participants with a private opportunity to be heard. If you are interested, please call University Life (703-993-2884) to schedule a support meeting.


5. Advocacy and Resources

Numerous support resources exist to help those in need as a result of experiencing violence, harassment, or other inappropriate behavior, including:

Student Supports

Faculty and Staff


6. Free Speech Guidance and Limitations

The university's commitment to the First Amendment rights of all community members is maintained in Mason's Free Speech on Campus resource center, which includes a guide to limits of constitutional protections and the means to report disruptions of constitutionally protected speech. While the First Amendment allows for and protects hate speech, it doesn’t mean that we encourage it. We are at our best when we choose speech that makes our point without hateful rhetoric and language and we ask everyone in our community to engage vigorously but do so in a manner that is respectable to others. Guidelines on campus demonstrations, events, and gatherings, are available on our Campus Climate site.


7. Freedom and Learning

A hallmark of any worthy university is to teach about the world, and Mason is actively encouraging faculty and students to find ways to teach, learn, and listen about the events unfolding with the Israel-Hamas conflict. Events are currently very raw and discussions about the most productive means to offer such opportunities are being explored cautiously and discreetly by various members of the Mason community, and as public invitations to such encounters emerge, the Mason community will be invited to participate.


8. Training

Mason offers a variety of training programs and materials to combat violence on campus on such topics as civility and violence prevention, bystander intervention, and active threat awareness and prevention.


This was originally posted on November 2, 2023. Updates will be posted to the Patriot Plan webpage.