Statement on Charlottesville

 

To:The Caltech Community
 
From:Thomas F. Rosenbaum
Sonja and William Davidow Presidential Chair and Professor of Physics
 
Date:August 16, 2017
 
Re:Charlottesville
 

The hate-filled and race-tinged violence in Charlottesville has been a jarring challenge to our colleagues at the University of Virginia, to the academic community as a whole, and to our nation.

As an academic community, and as a nation, we must reject hate speech and violence as incompatible with our mission and our aspirations. In particular, as an Institute devoted to creating knowledge and committed to the scientific method, we have a special responsibility to stand up for tolerance and freedom of expression whenever fundamental threats arise.

As an academic community, and as a nation, we thrive when we fully marshal the talents of our diverse world. We create knowledge through the exchange of ideas, grounded in respect for each other's views. Stereotyping is pernicious not only because it is hurtful, but because it obviates the ability of an individual to contribute to discourse for the benefit of the commonweal.

As an academic community, and as a nation, shared experience and shared values are touchstones of our strength. As recent events demonstrate, it is all too easy to take this for granted. Together, we must nurture and protect the ideals that guide us through times of division and conflict.