Opinion letter to the editor

A call for MIT to unite against bigotry and hatred

To the editor:

In a letter to the MIT community on November 1st, 2017, Dean Suzy Nelson called for the MIT community to “come together, unified in the belief that respect, dignity, and empathy are fundamental to whom we are as people and as a community.” This was a timely call following the appearance of a swastika in a residence hall, which was the third such incident in the last 18 months. The Addir Fellows, as a group of students committed to interfaith dialog and religious pluralism, would like to offer members of the MIT community the opportunity to support a statement denouncing these acts of bias and affirming the values of respect and inclusivity that strengthen our community:

As a community of thinkers, tinkerers, and problem solvers, we have a unique opportunity to provide leadership in some of the toughest problems facing our generation. One of these challenges is healing the increasing divisiveness in our society. We note with great concern an uptrend of prejudice and fear of ‘the Other’ that is threatening campuses nationwide. It is our strong desire that MIT will vigorously resist these trends and instead move towards greater connection across our differences. We affirm President Reif’s words that, “At MIT, when our community is at its best, bigotry and discrimination are out of bounds, period.”

Taking inspiration from Martin Luther King Jr., who proclaimed, “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” we call for dialogue across all spectrums of views and identities, with the goal of achieving greater understanding and compassion for each other. Through conversations and relationships committed to pursuing knowledge and empathy, we can drive out ignorance and prejudice.

MIT Addir Fellows

Editor's Note: A full list of signatories can be found at http://addir.scripts.mit.edu/www/statement.