Dear Members of the Harvard Community,
As the war in Israel and Gaza continues, I hope you will take a moment to watch this video.
Transcript: This is a moment of intense pain and grief for a great many people in our community and around the world. I feel that pain and grief myself.
As members of a university community, we have a choice.
We can fan the flames of division and hatred that are roiling the world.
Or we can try to be a force for something different and better.
People have asked me where we stand. So, let me be clear.
Our University rejects terrorism – that includes the barbaric atrocities perpetrated by Hamas.
Our University rejects hate—hate of Jews, hate of Muslims, hate of any group of people based on their faith, their national origin, or any aspect of their identity.
Our University rejects the harassment or intimidation of individuals based on their beliefs.
And our University embraces a commitment to free expression.
That commitment extends even to views that many of us find objectionable, even outrageous. We do not punish or sanction people for expressing such views. But that is a far cry from endorsing them.
It’s in the exercise of our freedom to speak that we reveal our characters.
And we reveal the character of our institution.
We can issue public pronouncements declaring the rightness of our own points of view and vilify those who disagree.
Or we can choose to talk and to listen with care and humility, to seek deeper understanding, and to meet one another with compassion.
We can inflame an already volatile situation on our campus.
Or we can focus our attention where it belongs on the unfolding tragedy thousands of miles away. We can ask ourselves how, as human beings, we can be helpful to people who are desperately trying to protect themselves and their families, people who are fighting to survive.
How we go forward as a community is up to each of us.
I have spent most of my career at this institution. I have seen the people of Harvard come together despite their differences.
I know that we are capable of meeting this moment—and meeting one another—with grace.