President’s comments at Faculty Senate meeting of Feb. 23, 2017

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne made the following comments at the Faculty Senate meeting on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017.

I have two brief items for the Senate.

First, I want to thank the Senate for the discussion of our long-range planning process at the last meeting two weeks ago. Persis and I appreciated the thoughtful questions and comments we obtained at the meeting and subsequently. I also want to thank the Committee on Committees for its work in providing faculty names for the four area steering groups so rapidly.

After the Faculty Senate meeting we met with the leadership of the ASSU – the Graduate Student Council and the Undergraduate Senate – who provided terrific input that we are incorporating in the plan. Also, we shared it with the leaders Stanford Health Care and with the Stanford Board of Trustees last week, all of whom have endorsed the general approach but, like other stakeholders, have provided valuable input, suggestions and comments. We’re incorporating all of that, and we’re now well on our way to launching.

We anticipate that the website for the long-range planning process will go live in early March, at which point we will begin actively soliciting and accepting proposals for consideration. So again, thank you for your partnership in what we hope and we trust will be a very productive endeavor for the university.

Second, I want to make note of the fact that this a time in which many communities within our larger Stanford community are feeling concerned and feeling vulnerable.

That includes our Muslim community; our international community; those who are immigrants or come from immigrant families; our Jewish community; members of the LGBTQ community; and several others, too many to mention. We are also hearing that some voices on both sides of the political spectrum are feeling marginalized, which goes against the university’s bedrock value of free expression of thought.

This is a time to reinforce, once again, our support for each and every member of the university community.

I want to reaffirm that we value all members of our community here at Stanford. We are here to support each and every member of our community. And we value hearing a diversity of perspectives from all members of our community.

Acts of intolerance and acts of hate have no place at Stanford, as I have said before.

In contentious times, reaching out to each other with respect and empathy is critical. And seeking to understand and learn from each other, drawing on the strengths of our different perspectives and backgrounds, remains fundamental to the life of the university.