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Debate Ideas Respectfully

We are writing to express our deep concern about an email that members of our Community received in response to their recent letter appearing in The Tech on January 28, 2009. This email was written to the letter’s authors who were critical of positions taken by Professor Noam Chomsky his public lecture on January 13, 2009 about the recent violence in Gaza.

We strongly support the principle of free expression embodied in both Professor Chomsky’s lecture and the subsequent letter disagreeing with him. However, the subsequent anonymous email sent to the letter’s authors was unmistakably hostile and hurtful. While such expression is legally protected, its content merits our strongest condemnation. We urge all members of our community to honor MIT’s admirable tradition of using our right to free expression in ways that promote informed, respectful debate.

Philip Clay, Chancellor

Steven Lerman, Vice Chancellor and Dean for Graduate Education

Chris Colombo, Dean for Student Life

Daniel Hastings, Dean for Undergraduate Education

Editor’s note: Additional background information, including a copy of the referenced e-mail, can be found on page 10.