Letter to the Brandeis faculty regarding listserv

July 28, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to you today to address the issue of certain statements made on a restricted listserv hosted on our campus computer server, which have been reported in the public media. I repudiate these statements publicly and I urge you to do the same.

While we maintain our staunch support of freedom of expression and academic inquiry, some remarks by an extremely small cohort of Brandeis faculty members are abhorrent.  Such statements, which include anti-Semitic epithets, personal attacks, denigration of the Catholic faith, and the use of crude and vulgar terms in discussions about Israel, do not represent the Brandeis community.  I condemn these statements in no uncertain terms.

I believe that it is necessary for us all to take responsibility for debating and challenging opinions with which we disagree in a full, open, civil and decent manner. We must respond clearly by condemning and deploring disrespectful, offensive and inflammatory expression when we encounter it. This is particularly true when particular statements of a very small number of individuals threaten to mischaracterize our community as a whole.


Fred Lawrence