Statement on Academic Rights and Responsibilities

All the members of the Harvard Chan School community are reminded of our commitment to maintaining an academic environment that encourages the free exchange of ideas and protects the rights of individuals to express their views within the bounds of reasoned dissent.  At the School, we are engaged in many areas of study and concern where there are often strongly held and divergent opinions.

We welcome the opportunity to share and learn in this dynamic and stimulating intellectual community.   In this regard, we are guided by Harvard’s University-Wide Statement on Rights and Responsibilities which explicitly recognizes that “The central functions of an academic community are learning, teaching, research and scholarship. By accepting membership in the University, an individual joins a community ideally characterized by free expression, free inquiry, intellectual honesty, respect for the dignity of others, and openness to constructive change. The rights and responsibilities exercised within the community must be compatible with these qualities.”  (The full text can be found at the Provost’s site at )

These rights and responsibilities belong to all members of our academic community, students and faculty alike, and apply to all matters, whether controversial or mundane, and whether in or outside of the classroom, including when student groups organize events on topics of interest to our community.  I see as one of our most important responsibilities the protection of the ability of all members of our community to express their views appropriately on all matters affecting Public Health anywhere in the world.  This is fundamental to our academic mission.

Also fundamental to our mission is our respect for the inherent worth of each individual from many diverse backgrounds.  We are committed to tolerance, sensitivity, understanding, and mutual respect everywhere within our community.  Our diversity statement and mission are detailed at