March 7, 2019

In support of our community

On many occasions over the past few years, in the context of different issues in our nation and on our campus, the two of us have tried to share an important message: Every member of our community at Stanford University is valued.

Now is a time to underline that message once again.

In recent months, news reports have been highlighting our government’s concerns about the potential misappropriation of intellectual property by foreign governments in ways that could jeopardize America’s national and economic security.

We understand and appreciate those concerns. At Stanford we are committed to openness in research, and we do not conduct classified research. Our information security practices, disclosure protocols, policies for review of new research engagements, and policies to ensure compliance with federal regulation all aim to protect the integrity of Stanford research.

We must, however, ensure that attentiveness to national security concerns does not bleed into something more insidious: a questioning of people within our community based on their country of origin or their heritage.

International collaboration continues to be vital to the advancement of knowledge and innovation. We want talented people from around the globe to come to America’s leading research universities, and to contribute to the work being done to create a brighter future for our world. Both of us have seen repeatedly, in our own careers and in our own labs, the value of research teams whose members bring diverse expertise from all over the world.

Our rich international community of students and scholars is an incredible strength. We treasure the people from around the world who are here, contributing to Stanford’s mission and enriching our understanding of the broader world. Our colleagues in the leadership of UC Berkeley appropriately noted recently, “As California’s own dark history teaches us, an automatic suspicion of people based on their national origin can lead to terrible injustices.”

As our country works to both advance innovation and protect national security, let us also make sure to reject prejudice and discrimination in all their forms.