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Community Relations at MIT: A Message from President Vest

To the MIT community:

I want to commend you for the many expressions and actions taken in recent days to help us both express our emotions and better understand the tragic events of this past week. MIT has once again demonstrated that it is a caring and compassionate community whose members are committed to learning from each other.

We must continue in this spirit in what are sure to be trying days ahead. In this regard, I am very pleased that a number of initiatives are being planned for this week and beyond that will continue the dialogue and learning process. For example, on Monday afternoon, Professor Richard Samuels and colleagues will hold a second open forum on possible US policy responses to the September 11 events. This week we will launch an on-line moderated forum, Community Expressions, to support continued dialogue and expressions of views on events as they unfold. And faculty in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences are planning a series of forums that will be followed by dinner discussions.

In these and all other conversations it is essential that we maintain respect for diversity of views and freedom of expression, consistent with our standards of respect for each other. Scapegoating or stereotyping of Muslims, others from the Middle East, or any other group is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

As MIT's Policies and Procedures state in part: "MIT is committed to creating an environment in which every individual can work, study, and live without being harassed. Harassment may therefore lead to sanctions up to and including termination of employment or student status ... Harassment...includes harassment of an individual in terms of a stereotyped group characteristic, or because of a person's identification with a particular group."

Any member of the MIT community who feels harassed is encouraged to seek assistance and resolution through one of the channels listed below.

I am confident we will continue to support each other and to learn from the rich diversity and range of expertise within our community as events unfold in the days ahead.

Chuck Vest



Sunday, September 16, 2001

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