This statement was written by a small group of MIT faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers (including Nancy Kanwisher, Roger Levy, Sarah Schwettmann, and Rosa Lafer-Sousa), who were concerned about the implications of recent events for the MIT community and the world. The statement is currently being circulated among MIT faculty to collect signatures.

Our goals in making this public statement, which builds upon the earlier letter sent by President Reif to our community on November 9, include:

  • Reaffirming to the world our core values of inclusivity and scientific inquiry;
  • Expressing our solidarity with members of the MIT community who may feel under threat given recent events and the uncertain future;
  • Encouraging all current and prospective students, in the US and beyond, that MIT is a safe and welcoming environment.

At 2:30pm on Wednesday, November 30, 2016, the option to sign the statement became open to all MIT community members. Signatories must have an MIT email address (current or alum).

As of Thursday, December 1, 2016, the statement has accumulated signatures from 7 MIT Institute Professors and 4 Nobel Laureates.


1. How are signatures collected?

Signatories must possess a valid MIT email to sign. Upon signing, signatories receive an email with a confirmation link. Once the signature is confirmed, the list is updated in real time.

2. I’m an MIT community member but not faculty — can I sign?

Yes! Your signature will appear on the ‘MIT Community’ list under the statement.

3. I’m not an MIT community member but I support the statement — can I sign?

No, but we hugely appreciate your support! Please feel free to share this statement and the broader message in your local environment.

4. May I use the language of the statement at my own institution?

Yes, we have placed the statement text in the public domain. To the extent possible under law, all authors, including Roger Levy, Nancy Kanwisher, Sarah Schwettmann, and Rosa Lafer-Sousa, have waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to “A message from MIT faculty reaffirming our shared values.” This work is published from: United States. However, if you do adopt the statement for your own use, we would love to hear about it!

5. What evidence supports the claim:

“The President-elect has appointed individuals to positions of power who have endorsed racism,
misogyny and religious bigotry, and denied the widespread scientific consensus on climate change”

President-elect Trump appointed Stephen Bannon as his senior counselor and chief strategist on November 13, 2016. Bannon previously served as executive chair of Breitbart News, which has featured racism, misogyny, anti-Muslim, and anti-Semitic rhetoric. As executive chair, Bannon endorsed Milo Yiannopoulos, widely known as a voice for the Alt-Right movement. While at Breitbart under Bannon’s supervision, Yiannopoulos penned articles such as this one suggesting a cap on the number of women studying STEM disciplines.

President-elect Trump appointed Myron Ebell to lead his Environmental Protection Agency transition team in September 2016. Ebell has claimed that “the so-called global warming consensus was not based on science.” These appointments do not require confirmation. Furthermore, the new White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, has confirmed that climate change denial will be the default position of the Trump administration.

Additionally, it has been announced that President-elect Trump will nominate individuals with records of racism and religious bigotry to senior positions of government. These include Jeff Sessions (Attorney General), who was denied a federal judgeship in 1986 for his “gross insensitivity to questions of race,” and General Michael Flynn (National Security Advisor), who publicly described Islamism as a “vicious cancer” inside the body of all Muslims that “has to be excised.”