Reaffirming our support for Berkeley's international community

February 20, 2019

Dear campus community,

In recent weeks, the Berkeley administration has received several reports of negative comments directed at our Chinese-American faculty, as well as at researchers engaged in collaborations with Chinese companies and institutions, implying without basis that these scholars could be acting as spies or otherwise working at odds with the interests of the United States. We have heard reports of similar messages directed at Iranian-American faculty and others with academic or personal ties to the Middle East.

Let us be clear that comments of this sort breed hurt and distrust, discriminate against members of our community, and run counter to our well-established Principles of Community. At a time when national security issues involving foreign countries make the front pages of our newspapers, it is critical that we not become any less welcoming to students, staff, faculty, visiting scholars, and other members of our community who come from those countries, or for whom those countries are an ancestral home. As California's own dark history teaches us, an automatic suspicion of people based on their national origin can lead to terrible injustices.

We therefore write to reaffirm that Berkeley remains open to people from all over the world, and ask that you continue to make all members of our community feel welcome and respected. In this regard, please be mindful that even off-hand remarks made in jest can be harmful to building the inclusive environment we wish to have on campus.

Beyond all this, as a general rule, Berkeley faculty and graduate students do not work with sensitive technological secrets or sensitive knowledge. Since the 1930s, University of California policy has made it clear that campuses will not engage in any research whose results cannot be openly and publicly disseminated.

If you have concerns about any aspects of the research partnerships taking place at Berkeley, we encourage you to contact the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at vcr@berkeley.edu. Thank you for endeavoring to make our campus a place where all members of our community feel welcome.

 
Sincerely,
 
Carol Christ
Chancellor
 
Paul Alivisatos
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
 
Randy Katz
Vice Chancellor for Research