To the Duke community:
A particularly hard-fought and divisive election season, one that was marked by a high degree of negativity, has come to an end, and America has elected a new president. Whatever positions we held in this contest, we all have a stake in the future health of the national community, so we all need to find ways to lessen negativism and division and to reengage the common good.
At this time of national change, I write to remind you that this university has its own abiding values, which carry protections and obligations for us all. Duke’s mission is built on the ground of respect for differences. The university is intentionally diverse and inclusive because encounters with different perspectives, beliefs and ways of thinking lead to a more comprehensive understanding—in politics as in every domain. For this reason, each member of this community deserves the full respect of every other and owes everyone the same respect in return. And we must not simply tolerate difference of opinions but create the conditions for respectful dialogue that allow mutual education to take place.
In the coming days and weeks, Duke’s intellectual community, informed by the research and expertise of our faculty, will help us to understand the meaning of this election for America. I hope you will participate in upcoming discussions with faculty, staff and fellow students to analyze this singular year in American politics and to debate the particulars of the way forward.
Most importantly, while our government undergoes a transition, this university remains steadfast in its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and the free exchange of ideas, and we are unwavering in our support for the value of each member of our community.