Campus & Community

Letter to the community from Harvard president Lawrence H. Summers

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Re: New York-Washington air attacks

The following letter was emailed to the Harvard community today by Harvard president Lawrence H. Summers

September 11, 2001

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

All of us are shocked and saddened beyond words by today’s tragic events. Our hearts go out to the members of our community who are directly touched, in one way or another, by today’s incomprehensible acts of violence.

Most of the University’s academic activities have been, or are being, suspended for the day. In schools where classes have begun, they have for the most part been canceled, as have most major meetings and events. All deans, faculty, and supervisory staff will be permissive in ensuring that any individual who does not feel comfortable carrying on with today’s ordinary activities not feel at all obligated to do so. At the same time, the University remains open and its essential operations are being carried forward, so that our students and others are appropriately served and so that the members of our community can come together and find support.

Each of the schools is working to ensure that students, staff, and faculty have access to the counseling and other services they may need at this difficult time. In addition, the University Health Services has constituted a core group of clinicians and other personnel to work with members of the community who need assistance. (UHS can be reached at 495-2010 or, after 5:30 p.m., at 495-5711. Walk-in service is available at Holyoke Center.) I also wish to recognize and thank the many members of the Harvard medical community who are already participating in the provision of emergency medical services to victims of today’s events.

I will be conferring again with the Deans and others later today to assess the situation and discuss what today’s events may imply for Harvard activities scheduled for tomorrow. Further information will be available through the Harvard home page ( or by calling 496-NEWS.

This is a moment of incalculable sorrow and loss, and I hope we will all take care to support all members of our community during this terrible episode in the life of our nation and the world. Sincerely,

Lawrence H. Summers

Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers