The following letter was sent to the MIT community today by President L. Rafael Reif.
To the members of the MIT community,
On Monday, the trial of Derek Chauvin will move to closing arguments, amid continued anguish across the country over systemic racism and violence against people of color.
I write now to acknowledge the pain, frustration, exhaustion and profound weight of this moment, to recognize the impact across our community, especially for people of color, and to offer a few observations and resources.
To our faculty and to leaders at every level across MIT: You can make an important difference if, at the start of a class or a meeting, you simply acknowledge what is happening in our society and, if possible, create time and space to talk about it. We have already heard from many appreciative students about the acknowledgments and small changes faculty members have made ahead of the upcoming long weekend.
In this time of societal upheaval and heightened anxiety, I hope we can all look out for one another with care and compassion. You may rely on peers and others close to you for comfort. But it is also very natural to seek professional support. As ever, MIT offers extensive resources, both for MIT employees and for students. (After-hours and 24/7 resources will be available for students and employees over the long weekend that begins today.)
To all of you, and especially to our students: In this highly charged moment, I recognize that, depending on how events unfold in the coming days, you may feel moved to gather with others, whether in protest or just for mutual support. We offer these guidelines to help you keep yourself and others safe – and Covid safe.
As I write, CP* (the wonderful, Covid-era online version of Campus Preview Weekend) is already underway. As we give next year’s incoming students a preview of what makes our community special, I hope we can show them how we care for one another at MIT.
L. Rafael Reif