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Statement in support of Stanford’s international students and scholars

This statement is based on remarks made by Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne at the Stanford Faculty Senate Meeting on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021.

As you may have seen in news reports, the U.S. Department of Justice recently arrested a Chinese-American professor at MIT. I know that these allegations have created heightened anxiety within our Stanford community, including among many of our Chinese and Chinese-American faculty members.

While we are not aware of the specifics of the case and cannot comment in detail, I want to reiterate Stanford’s unwavering support for our international students and scholars, who are valuable members of our Stanford community. In particular, I want to make clear that we unequivocally support our Chinese and Chinese-American colleagues and their ability to study and work at Stanford.

We understand and appreciate that government agencies and policymakers are concerned about a number of issues, including the potential misappropriation of intellectual property and failures to disclose conflicts of interest and commitment. We believe that universities, including Stanford, have a responsibility to attend to these issues diligently. Our information security practices, disclosure protocols, policies for review of new research engagements and policies to ensure compliance with federal regulation all aim to protect the integrity of Stanford research.

At the same time, we believe it is essential that such concerns are handled in a way that enables us to continue to attract bright students and scholars to Stanford from all over the world, including China. It’s critical that scholars continue to be able to collaborate in appropriate ways with researchers abroad and that they are not penalized for actions that are a normal part of free scholarly exchange. This is a high priority for Stanford, and we’ll continue to work with our peer institutions and national associations to advocate for policies that balance legitimate national security concerns with the need to protect freedom of inquiry and global collaboration in science.

Students and scholars come to this country, and to Stanford, to learn, collaborate and make contributions to our fundamental research enterprise, which benefits our country and the world. We are firm in our commitment to welcoming them, and to sharing ideas and scholarship across borders. Our mission as a university depends upon the presence and participation of people from all over the world, from all walks of life, and we stand in full support of our international and immigrant communities.