The community we make together

December 10, 2015

To the members of the MIT community,
As the news tells us relentlessly, this is a troubling time of violence, intolerance and hatred. I find consolation by looking away from the screen and towards the community we make here together every day.
I am proud of and grateful for the way we live and work together at MIT.
I am proud that we do not fear the world. As one can see any day in the Infinite Corridor, in a real sense, MIT is the world. As is true for America itself, this openness to talent from every faith and background is central to our success. I hope our nation never forgets the value and strength of this idea.
I am proud that the MIT community does not flinch from reassessing itself, experimenting with new ideas and seeking to improve – and I am grateful that we seek to find the answers through candor and collaboration. Together, we have spent the past two years facing and responding to significant challenges around both sexual assault and mental health – and our community is stronger because we have done so. In the same spirit, the Black Students' Union and the Black Graduate Students Association recently developed recommendations to help us reach our aspirations of inclusion. I have no doubt that this work will make us stronger, too.
I am proud that we shoulder the responsibility to make the world a better place. And I am grateful that MIT is, at its best, a place where we strive to treat one another with sympathy, humility, decency, respect and kindness.
Our MIT community may be imperfect – but it is a wonderful place to start.
In a time riddled with conflict that we cannot control, let us control what we can: Let us reach out to those we love and those we don't yet understand. Let us listen with interest and compassion. Let us cherish what it means to belong to our brilliant, self-correcting community. And let us dream of peace on Earth.
With warmest wishes,
L. Rafael Reif