Draft Report Preamble

Draft Report Preamble

Harvard’s motto is Veritas. In all things, we strive toward truth and academic excellence.  Toward that end, our campus community must foster each person’s potential, recognize each person’s inherent dignity, and promote the bonds and bridges that allow us to support each other, to grow with each other, and to learn from each other, including through disagreement. If we succeed in cultivating and sustaining such a campus, members of the University—regardless of background and role—will enjoy full and genuine membership in our community. Each will have an ownership stake; it will ring true to say, “We are all, Harvard.”  And because membership entails not only rights but also responsibilities, our success requires that each of us understands how we contribute to crafting this community, to supporting academic excellence, to fostering individual well-being, and to respecting each other’s dignity.  We all make Harvard.

A truth about Harvard is that Harvard evolves. To be a member and a maker of Harvard is to be a steward, responsible for preserving the best of Harvard’s past while also ensuring a present and future in which our excellence reflects the contributions of people from all backgrounds and lands. Harvard once belonged to the sons of Puritans. Harvard now belongs to all of us, members of a diverse community who bring countless perspectives, talents, aspirations, and lived experiences. Like other colleges and universities, Harvard once drew on the shared, but tacit, understandings of a relatively homogeneous community to structure our values and the way we functioned. But as we draw in new and different experiences and perspectives, such tacit reliance on norms grown from homogeneity no longer serves us well. Rather, as Harvard’s stewards, we must acknowledge expressly the values and expectations that membership in Harvard entails:
•    The right to full and free expression.
•    The responsibility to prove ourselves trustworthy to one another.
•    The responsibility to deal with one another in good faith, to assume good faith in others, and to strive for mutual resilience in the face of disappointment.
•    The right and responsibility to engage in cooperative and productive disagreement, with civility and respect for differences of opinion and lived experience and for each person’s dignity—the preconditions for turning difficult conversations into opportunities for learning and shared development.
•    The recognition that all members of our community—students, staff, and scholars—are connected to one another.

As stewards of Harvard, we acknowledge that making these values real in our daily lived experience is both a challenging task and a rewarding duty. It is a duty we undertake not only because it is wise, but because it is just.  We aspire to a community where all, regardless of background, can flourish, where all benefit from the diversity of perspective and experience that each of us brings, and where all prepare for service and leadership in a diverse and changing world.  By realizing these aspirations, we will create a University where the full array of human potential—in our students and our staff, in our teachers, our researchers, and our learners— can flourish.  Through our constant efforts in pursuit of these ideals, we aim to set an example, at Harvard and beyond, of how to achieve human fulfillment and academic excellence in a diversity to which we all belong. Our reward will lie in the fruits to be harvested from the talents assembled here, for our own good and for the public good.