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Message from President Summers

This is a solemn moment for our community, the nation, and the world. Our thoughts are with all of the individuals and families abroad and closer to home who are most immediately affected by the war now under way. Whatever one’s own views, we can all join in hoping that the loss of life will be minimized, and that a just and lasting peace will prevail, sooner rather than later.

People here at Harvard, as in the world at large, have a wide range of deeply held views on the military action. I hope and trust that our university will be a place where individuals with different perspectives can air them freely and thoughtfully, and where each of us will make a genuine effort to listen to and learn from the views of others.

Times of war are times of anxiety that can challenge the strongest and most resilient of communities. The anxiety of the present moment is compounded by the prospect that actions far away could elevate security concerns at home. We have no evidence of any specific threats to the university community. At the same time, please be assured that the security of our students, staff, and faculty is a paramount concern, and we will continue to take appropriate precautions with that concern in mind. Each one of us should take care to be vigilant, while carrying on with the ordinary yet important work of education and scholarship that brings us here together.

Meanwhile, the University administration will work to uphold our academic interests in maintaining the flow of students and scholars across international borders and the academic freedom of all members of our community. As we enter this challenging and uncertain time, I hope we can demonstrate a shared commitment to values that bind us together as a community devoted to learning: the encouragement of civil discourse and robust debate, a respect for differing points of view, the avoidance of an institutional orthodoxy that could inhibit discussion, and the determination to continue searching for forms of knowledge and understanding that we hope will contribute to a better world.