President and provost write in support of inclusion and diversity

The following letter was recently issued to members of Stanford’s campus community from President Hennessy and Provost Etchemendy affirming the university’s commitment to inclusion and diversity.

Dear Stanford Community,

In the last few weeks, universities across the country have been rocked by acts of intolerance and racism. At this time of national unrest and anxiety, we feel it is particularly important to reaffirm our commitment to inclusion and diversity at Stanford. We share your concern about these events and realize that they deeply affect members of our own community.

Open exchange logoAs we express our dismay about prejudice and injustice elsewhere, let us also take this opportunity to bring awareness to issues we have here at home. We recognize from the protests and debates of last year that Stanford is not immune to discrimination and discord. We acknowledge the pain that many students feel, and are committed to creating and supporting opportunities for healing. The findings of the Campus Climate Survey, lessons from the OpenXChange Listening Dinner in October, and conversations happening in community centers and residences have further reinforced that we face significant challenges around race, ethnicity, social class, gender, gender identity and sexuality. But we have faith that the Stanford community is strong and can address these challenges intentionally and collectively.

We have made some strides in this arena. We have added two full-time staff in the Office of Diversity and First Generation to help train and facilitate conversations. The Diversity Cabinet has and continues to be an important campus voice for raising awareness and impacting policy. Through programs and incentive funds, such as the Faculty Development Initiative (FDI) and Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence (DARE), we have invested significant efforts to diversify the faculty and graduate student body. Still, we recognize there is much work yet to be done.

But it is work we must do as a community. This is a moment that demands the collaboration of students, staff, faculty and administration. We look forward to working together to create a climate that supports and affirms the wide range of life experiences and identities that we value at Stanford.

We applaud the efforts our students have already made, such as Thursday’s rally in White Plaza and the thoughtful note that ASSU President John-Lancaster Finley and Vice President Brandon Hill sent to the student body. Their words are inspiring and illustrate why we need to continue the conversations around race, class and diversity.

With your help, we can make Stanford a community dedicated to mutual respect, an institution that promotes equity, and a university that marks diversity as a key component of its excellence.


John L. Hennessy

John Etchemendy