A message from Dean Douglas Elmendorf

To the HKS Community,

I hope you have seen today’s message from President Gay, which is included below. President Gay emphasizes the University leadership’s denunciation of the atrocities committed by Hamas, which are abhorrent regardless of one’s views about the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I want to add that I am deeply concerned about comments I have heard from students with a range of views who feel physically unsafe or psychologically unsafe on our campus. To fulfill our aspirations as a learning community, we need to ensure that all the members of our community are safe—and feel safe—when we are together here. Let us take this goal as our collective responsibility.

Lastly, I have received several messages pointing out that some people’s religious observance would prevent them from attending the panel discussion we announced for Friday at 6 p.m. Therefore, we have shifted the time of the discussion to 4 p.m.


October 10, 2023

A Statement from President Claudine Gay

As the events of recent days continue to reverberate, let there be no doubt that I condemn the terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Hamas. Such inhumanity is abhorrent, whatever one’s individual views of the origins of longstanding conflicts in the region.

Let me also state, on this matter as on others, that while our students have the right to speak for themselves, no student group — not even 30 student groups — speaks for Harvard University or its leadership.

We will all be well served in such a difficult moment by rhetoric that aims to illuminate and not inflame. And I appeal to all of us in this community of learning to keep this in mind as our conversations continue.

Claudine Gay
President, Harvard University

October 9, 2023

A message from Dean Douglas Elmendorf and School leaders

Dear Members of the Harvard Kennedy School Community,

We hope you all have read the joint statement by Harvard’s senior leaders regarding the attack by Hamas on Israel and the widening war in Israel and Gaza. We have included that statement below.

Our hearts go out to the many victims of the fighting and especially to the students, faculty, staff, and fellows of the Kennedy School whose families or friends are among those victims. We have heard stories of unimaginable personal loss from members of our community, and we realize that much more loss may ensue—loss that is very immediate and deeply personal for many in our community, even as it may feel distant or abstract to others.

No words of ours are adequate under these circumstances, but we write to follow up on Harvard’s joint statement with empathy and information about support and learning at the Kennedy School.

Many of you are probably reacting to the unfolding tragedy with fear, anger, sadness, frustration, or other emotions—as we are. We encourage members of our community to draw strength and comfort from their families, friends, colleagues, and others at the Kennedy School. Because different people are affected by these events in different ways, we do not think that a single School-wide gathering would be effective for support and comfort. But all the signatories of this letter are available to meet with individuals or groups of people from our community, and we encourage you to reach out to us. We hope that everyone will find spaces in which they feel comfortable sharing their feelings and perspectives at this very difficult time and can gain some comfort from each other.

During this week and beyond, please be supportive of your friends and colleagues who are struggling to deal with these terrible and very personal developments. Remember that we have many sources of care for community members who need it—now and at any time. Students seeking support can contact their program directors or the University’s Counseling and Mental Health Services’ Cares Line at 617-495-2042 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week); staff and faculty seeking support can contact the University’s Employee Assistance Program at 877-327-4278 (also 24 hours a day, 7 days a week); and the Harvard chaplains are available to everyone. Please reach out to someone if you need support.

In addition, we ask all faculty members to give flexibility on assignments to students who are unable to focus on their studies because of the fighting in Israel and Gaza—or by the earthquakes in Afghanistan and (earlier) Morocco and the flooding in Libya.

Many of you also may want to understand better what has been happening in Israel and Gaza over time, what has happened in the past few days, and what might happen next. Although these topics are much too complex to be handled properly in any single session, we will have an opportunity to learn from a panel discussion in the Forum at 6 pm on Friday, October 13. Professor Tarek Masoud, director of the School’s Middle East Initiative, will moderate a panel of scholars and practitioners who are experts in the politics of the region.

With profound sympathy for those who are in pain now, and with hopes for future peace and justice in the region,

Doug Elmendorf

Robbin Chapman
Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Erica Chenoweth
Academic Dean for Faculty Engagement

Suzanne Cooper
Academic Dean for Teaching and Curriculum

Pam Cozza
Chief Human Resources Officer

David Deming
Academic Dean

Debbie Isaacson
Senior Associate Dean for Degree Programs and Student Affairs

Sarah Wald
Senior Policy Advisor and Chief of Staff

October 9, 2023

A Statement from President Claudine Gay and University leaders

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

We write to you today heartbroken by the death and destruction unleashed by the attack by Hamas that targeted citizens in Israel this weekend, and by the war in Israel and Gaza now under way.

The violence hits all too close to home for many at Harvard. Some members of our community have lost family members and friends; some have been unable to reach loved ones. And, even for people at Harvard who have not been affected directly by the fighting, there are feelings of fear, sadness, anger, and more that create a heavy burden. We have heard from many students, faculty, and staff about the emotional toll that these events are taking.

Across Harvard, we will continue providing as much support to our students and colleagues as possible. Our Schools either have shared or will soon share messages regarding available resources.

We have also heard an interest from many in understanding more clearly what has been happening in Israel and Gaza. Even as we attend immediately to the needs of our community members, we can take steps as an academic community to deepen our knowledge of the unfolding events and their broader implications for the region and the world. We expect there will be many such opportunities in the coming days and weeks.

We have no illusion that Harvard alone can readily bridge the widely different views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but we are hopeful that, as a community devoted to learning, we can take steps that will draw on our common humanity and shared values in order to modulate rather than amplify the deep-seated divisions and animosities so distressingly evident in the wider world. Especially at such a time, we want to emphasize our commitment to fostering an environment of dialogue and empathy, appealing to one another’s thoughtfulness and goodwill in a time of unimaginable loss and sorrow.

As many colleagues, classmates, and friends deal with pain and deep concern about the events in Israel and Gaza, we must all remember that we are one Harvard community, drawn together by a shared passion for learning, discovery, and the pursuit of truth in all its complexity, and held together by a commitment to mutual respect and support. At this moment of challenge, let us embody the care and compassion the world needs now.


Claudine Gay
President, Harvard University

Alan M. Garber
Provost, Harvard University

Meredith Weenick
Executive Vice President, Harvard University

Tomiko Brown-Nagin
Dean, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Nancy Coleman
Dean, Division of Continuing Education and University Extension

George Q. Daley
Dean, Harvard Medical School

Srikant Datar
Dean, Harvard Business School

Emma Dench
Dean, Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Douglas W. Elmendorf
Dean, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

William V. Giannobile
Dean, Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Hopi E. Hoekstra
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

David F. Holland
Interim Dean, Harvard Divinity School

Rakesh Khurana
Dean, Harvard College

Jane J. Kim
Interim Dean, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Bridget Terry Long
Dean, Harvard Graduate School of Education

John F. Manning
Dean, Harvard Law School

Michael D. Smith
Interim Dean, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Sarah M. Whiting
Dean, Graduate School of Design