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Student Affairs  /  Campus Announcements  /  Community Conduct and Speech

Community Conduct and Speech

November 1, 2023

To: The Campus Community
From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President
Kevin M. Gilmartin, Vice President for Student Affairs

We write to address concerns that many have raised following recent exchanges on the graduate student listserv regarding the conflict in Israel and Gaza. The email communications, representing different perspectives on recent and historic events, are deeply troubling to many and have left others with concerns about the well-being of members of our community in such an environment.

The safety and security of all members of our community is an absolute priority. As an Institute, and as a community, we denounce violence, hate speech threatening violence, discrimination, harassment, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia. Any such acts threaten the very core of our community and the work that we must engage in together to understand, probe, and explore our world, and to bring forward solutions for the benefit of humanity. 

Caltech is dedicated to creating an environment where individual members of our community express freely their personal perspectives and experiences without fear, engage in open discourse and dialogue, and challenge and debate personal convictions with the aim of achieving greater understanding for all. 

We believe that it is possible to achieve such meaningful interactions, but also believe that the graduate student listserv is not the appropriate forum for this work. The Graduate Student Council has committed to reviewing and implementing clearer policies on the moderation of this platform with respect for the rights of individuals and groups to share information and resources, and to create opportunities for bringing members of the community together for productive dialogue and debate.

No matter how strongly you may disagree with someone, they have the right to hold and express their views. As an Institute, we do not endorse any particular political perspective or belief. We unequivocally, however, denounce acts of terrorism, hate, harassment, and discrimination in all its forms. 

In the days and weeks ahead, we will need to continue to process the increasing human tragedy in Israel and Gaza. In doing so, we must remain committed to our values of open discourse and respect for our colleagues.