November 30, 2015
Dear Harvard College Students,
Over the holiday break, I was made aware of some unauthorized Twitter accounts and Facebook groups that claim to be formed by students from Harvard and from other college and university campuses that, like Harvard, are currently engaged in important conversations about race, racism, belonging, and inclusion. These accounts are very troubling and I have asked the Office of General Counsel to investigate.
At moments like this, when the world seems particularly fragile and dark, we should remind ourselves of the reasons we have to be hopeful about our future. Each day on our campus I see students, faculty, and staff finding ways to strengthen our sense of belonging and inclusion. And each day I am thankful to be part of an institution with the unbending belief that a better world is possible when guided by the light of knowledge and understanding. Getting to this better world will not be easy. It will require a fierce resolve and a sense of humility. Ultimately, it will require our collective engagement.
I wrote to you in the weeks before the break about creating an opportunity to come together as a community to discuss the findings and recommendations included in the final report of the Working Group on Diversity and Inclusion. Today I write to let you know that we will hold that forum at the Phillips Brooks House Parlor Room at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 9. I encourage each of you to join me, and your fellow community members, in respectful, thoughtful, and productive conversation about the ways this community can be better for all of us.
As you return to campus, I hope you will find ways to reach out to one another and let people know what they mean to you. Find some way of showing compassion to someone who might be hurting. Listen to each other generously. Take a stand against racism, intolerance, and bigotry. Hatred and ignorance are defeated when people of conscience come together and speak out.