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Letter to the community regarding the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia

The following email was sent today to the MIT community by President L. Rafael Reif.

To the members of the MIT community,

History teaches us that human beings are capable of evil. When we see it, we must call it what it is, repudiate it and reject it.

This weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, we witnessed a strand of hatred. White supremacy and anti-Semitism, whether embodied by neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan or others, are bankrupt ideologies with a wicked aim as plain as our need to repel it.

The United States must remain a country of freedom, tolerance and liberty for all. To keep that promise, it must always remain a place where those who hold radically opposing views can voice them. However, when an ideology contends that some people are less human than others, and when that ideology commands violence in the name of racial purity, we must reject that ideology as evil.

I write to you this morning because I believe that the events of this weekend embody a threat of direct concern to our community.

A great glory of the United States is the enduring institutions and ideals of our civil society. The independent judiciary. The free press. The universities. Free speech. The rule of law. The belief that we are all created equal. Each one reinforces and draws strength from the others. When those pillars come under attack, society is endangered. I believe we all have a responsibility to protect them—with a sense of profound gratitude for the freedoms they guarantee.

At MIT, let us with one voice reject hatred—whatever its form. Let us unite in mourning those who lost their lives to this struggle in Charlottesville. And let us work for goodwill among us all.


L. Rafael Reif

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