Harvard faculty member finds note on door attacking her ethnicity


A Harvard faculty member found a note tacked to her door Thursday “bearing hateful and obscene language” that insulted her ethnicity and immigration status, and “wished her ill,” according to a statement from Harvard officials.

The faculty member was in the company of graduate students when she found the note, which also challenged her right to be at Harvard, President Lawrence S. Bacow and Dean Claudine Gay wrote to the faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Colleagues of the woman, as well as the Harvard University Police Department, were present throughout the day to provide her with support, the statement said. Harvard has launched a formal inquiry into the incident.


Bacow and Gay said in the statement that the incident is an act of “bigotry and malice” that the university will not stand for, calling it an “assault on our faculty’s fundamental commitments to academic excellence.”

“We write to you now to state unequivocally that we condemn this hateful act and all forms of hate speech, and that we will answer attacks on members of our community with every resource at our disposal,” the pair wrote.

The university leaders encouraged the Harvard community to commit to the values of “tolerance, civility, and inclusion,” as they move forward and the investigation continues.

“Those who commit acts of hate seek to disrupt our academic mission,” Bacow and Gay wrote. “As we all find ways to support one another and to recommit ourselves to the values that define who we are as a community, we would ask that we do so in a way that is mindful of the need for privacy of those directly impacted.”

Bacow and Gary urged anyone with information potentially helpful to the investigation to contact the Harvard University Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division at 617-495-1796.

Shannon Larson can be reached at shannon.larson@globe.com.