(Versions of the following message were sent today to all Harvard Kennedy School faculty, staff, and students from School leaders, along with contact information for those seeking support.)
Acknowledging that it has been a particularly painful several days for the Kennedy School LGBTQ+ community, we share President Bacow’s condemnation of the hateful threat against these very same community members. The values we hold most dear at the Kennedy School, and our shared commitment to building societies that are more safe, free, and just for all, call upon us to stand together in support of our LGBTQ+ students, friends, and colleagues. HKS leadership is working closely with the University to support the individuals who were targeted in this cowardly act. As President Bacow asks us to do in his message below, let us all redouble our efforts to speak out against hate and care for each other.
Deborah Isaacson, Senior Associate Dean for Degree Programs and Student Affairs
Suzanne Cooper, Academic Dean for Teaching and Curriculum
Pam Cozza, Chief of Human Resources
Janney Wilson, Executive Dean
Subject: Standing together against hatred and violence
August 16, 2022
Dear Members of the Harvard Community,
At a moment when we should be looking to the promise of a new academic year, it pains me to have to write to you about a violent threat targeting members of the Harvard community.
Within the last few days, a number of students, faculty, and staff who are members of our LGBTQ+ community received a profoundly disturbing, anonymous email threatening violence against them simply because of who they are. While we believe that only a small number of people actually received this message, it targeted every member of the LGBTQ+ community. Such a threat cannot go unchallenged, and is wholly inconsistent with the values of this community.
As I do not want to give greater voice to those who seek to perpetrate hatred and fear, I will not characterize the message further. However, I believe we must collectively stand up for our friends and colleagues, and declare that such an act will not intimidate us but only serve to bring us closer together. Please reach out to your friends and colleagues in the LGBTQ+ community to let them know that we stand together in our support of them. Resources within our schools and units, as well as confidential supports, are available for any member of our community.
HUPD and HUIT are working in collaboration with federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this threat of violence. Rest assured that if we can identify those responsible, we will pursue their prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.
Sadly, violent threats and incidents of hatred in our country have grown all too common in recent times. With each one we must redouble our efforts as a community and as an institution to care for our neighbors, to speak out against hate, and to work toward the kinder, safer world we wish to inhabit. On the cusp of a new semester, let that be our resolve.
Lawrence S. Bacow
President, Harvard University