Carnegie Mellon University

November 2, 2018

Dear Members of the CMU Community,

This has been an incredibly difficult week for the residents of Pittsburgh and for our entire global community. The horrific violence at Tree of Life Synagogue has reminded us that the evils caused by hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism are still present, and we must oppose them fiercely. This attack on our way of life and the values upon which our nation was founded was, unfortunately, only one of multiple acts of violence motivated by hate in our country in recent days.

On Monday, more than 1,500 students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered for a vigil to mourn and honor the victims of this senseless tragedy. We also reaffirmed our commitment to our core values of inclusion, respect and compassion. Speakers shared their heartbreak, helped us articulate what has been lost, and began the journey of processing our grief. Our message was clear: We will not let these acts of bigotry sow fear in our community. And we will not let hatred overshadow love.

Similar gatherings have taken place on our campuses outside of Pittsburgh. Students, faculty and staff have organized their own activities including interfaith prayer groups. This week has brought new meaning to what it is to be a Tartan — the diversity of our community is represented in its multitude of colors; woven together, we are resolute, beautiful and strong.

Healing will not happen overnight. We must continue to find ways to actively support those who have been affected not only by this tragedy, but also by other acts of hate targeting minority communities. We all can double down on our commitment to reject bigotry of any kind, no matter where it occurs, and live up to CMU’s foundational values of inclusion and respect for people of all backgrounds.

One of the most important things we can do is carry on with CMU’s mission. Through the education of our students, we prepare the next generation of leaders to think critically, act ethically, and react with compassion to the challenges we face as a society. Through our research and creative endeavors, we foster knowledge and understanding that can bridge the conflicts that divide us. Together, we will build a more peaceful and just future.

As a community, we will mourn. We will remember. We will be vigilant. And together we will continue the great work of Carnegie Mellon in service to our students, our community and our world.

Wishing you peace and strength,

Farnam Jahanian 
Henry L. Hillman Chair