To the Harvard Kennedy School Community:
I am saddened and angered by the racism and violence of white supremacists that were displayed in Charlottesville last weekend. As President Faust stated yesterday: "Such actions are anathema to the values of our society and to the principles of our university community."
My remarks at Commencement in May focused on the values that I think all of us who want to advance the public interest should hold. One of the values I highlighted was belief in the worth of each person regardless of their race, religion, gender, political views, socioeconomic status, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and certain other characteristics. That value is a cornerstone of Harvard University and of the Kennedy School. The attacks in Charlottesville, and other violence motivated by racism or hatred of other kinds, are cruel violations of that value, and we stand firmly and unalterably opposed to such violence.
In our planning for the coming academic year, we had already decided to make a continuing community-wide discussion of values a key element of a number of events. The developments in Charlottesville last weekend -- and the varied responses to those developments by public leaders -- make that discussion even more important. I look forward to working with you to foster a vigorous and constructive exchange about the values that are important for us here at the Kennedy School and for public leaders in the wider world that we serve.
With my best wishes for the end of the summer and the start of a new year,