Dear Members of the HKS Community,
During the past few weeks, significant concerns have been raised about my decision not to appoint Ken Roth as a Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School for this academic year. 
I have not issued a statement on this decision because at the Kennedy School, as in virtually every organization, certain aspects of personnel matters should not be publicly discussed. But given the significant interest in this matter at the School, and in light of discussions I have had with faculty members in recent days, I want to outline aspects of the considerations that went into my decision and explain how I think we should move forward. 
First let me emphasize that my decision was not influenced by donors. Donors do not affect our consideration of academic matters. My decision also was not made to limit debate at the Kennedy School about human rights in any country. As a community we are steadfastly committed to free inquiry and including a wide range of views on public policy, and the appointment of a Fellow is never an endorsement of the views of that individual nor a refutation of other views. My decision on Mr. Roth last summer was based on my evaluation of his potential contributions to the School.
In recent days I have spent a great deal of time consulting with faculty members, hearing their views, and discussing a path forward on this specific appointment and on broader issues around the appointment of Fellows at the Kennedy School. 
On the broader issues, we need clearer and better processes that draw more on the insights of the Kennedy School faculty as a whole. Accordingly, I will ask a faculty committee to develop a faculty-driven process for evaluating Fellow appointments—a process that I expect will bring greater rigor and wider consultation and that will be grounded in our deep commitment to excellence and to multiple informed perspectives. 
In the case of Mr. Roth, I now believe that I made an error in my decision not to appoint him as a Fellow at our Carr Center for Human Rights. I am sorry that the decision inadvertently cast doubt on the mission of the School and our commitment to open debate in ways I had not intended and do not believe to be true. The broader faculty input I have now sought and received has persuaded me that my decision was not the best one for the School. I have spoken now with a colleague at the Carr Center, and we will extend an offer to Mr. Roth to serve as a Fellow. I hope that our community will be able to benefit from his deep experience in a wide range of human rights issues. 
Finally, I want to underscore my commitment to the Kennedy School’s important work to advance human rights around the world. I am proud of the work of all my colleagues to improve public policy and leadership.