Stanford Report Online

Stanford Report, September 13, 2001

President Hennessy's statement in response to hateful e-mails

The following statement by President John Hennessy was released in response to hateful e-mails sent to the Islamic Society of Stanford University and the Muslim Student Awareness Network.

I learned late yesterday that a number of hate-filled e-mails have been sent to the Islamic Society and the Muslim Student Awareness Network in the last two days. We are not certain where these e-mails originated, but we are taking them very seriously. The incidents have been reported to the police and computer security and will be thoroughly investigated. I want to say in the most emphatic way possible that there is absolutely no place for this kind of behavior in our community, a community that is dedicated to respectful intellectual exchange.

The events of September 11 are painful to all of us at Stanford, and we condemn these acts in the strongest way. At the same time, we must refrain from the temptation to misdirect a sense of outrage to a group of people based on a stereotype or on their religion or ethnicity. The entire community is diminished by such behavior, and it is simply unacceptable. Certainly, this is a time for all of us to stand in support of all those touched by these tragedies. Yet, I ask all of you to help ensure, in particular, that our Muslim and Arab students, faculty and staff enjoy peace of mind and a sense of belonging in the coming days.

Many of our national leaders have made the point that, amid great tragedy, we must rededicate ourselves to the principles that make ours a great country -- freedom, democracy and mutual respect in a pluralistic society. In the same way, we must see this as an opportunity to reaffirm what makes Stanford a great university. We must set an example by coming together as a community in peace and unity and support each other in these difficult times.

Update from Friday, Sept. 14:
Stanford's Computer Security Office determined that none of these hate-filled e-mails were sent from a Stanford University account, system or network.