Dear Members of the Northeastern Community,

Last year, we came together as a community to design a map for the future of Northeastern. Approved by our Board of Trustees, the Academic Plan “Northeastern 2025” stands as a blueprint for Northeastern’s evolution in a time of revolutionary technological and social change.

Beyond our vision to elevate learning and discovery at Northeastern, a fundamental tenet of the plan is that diversity and inclusion are inseparable from our academic pursuits. Therefore, we cannot fulfill our mission unless we are resolute in our commitment to maintaining Northeastern’s diverse, inclusive character.

We are a truly global university, with international students who come from around the world to study at Northeastern, and domestic students who engage in experiential learning in more than 100 countries. Our students—indeed all in our community—know first-hand that our world today is all too divided. Many members of our community are apprehensive about the future, fearing discrimination and intolerance.

I empathize with those who feel uneasy. My education and career have allowed me to study and work on three different continents, which included my arrival in Boston years ago as an international student. And while people here welcomed me, extending their fellowship and support, I realize that we are living in a different time and many of you feel anxious and less secure. Our world is both beautiful and messy, but one fact is clear: educational institutions, such as ours, must continue to be models for society.

I want to emphatically reaffirm Northeastern’s longstanding policies to protect the rights of all races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations and identities that comprise the diverse Northeastern family. Discrimination and hate have no place in a community of learning, and we will take the most forceful actions to combat them. We strive to assure everyone at Northeastern—Muslim or Jewish, atheist or person of faith—of their safety and freedom to learn, work, and teach.

This most certainly includes those who live in fear due to their immigration status. All members of our community who have immigration concerns, including our Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) students, should rest assured that we will continue to stand with you and safeguard you. (Students with questions or seeking support can contact our WeCare program; faculty and staff can call the Employee Assistant Program at 877-739-3989.)

As we realize the ambitious vision of Northeastern 2025, we do so knowing that our core values of diversity and inclusion remain unalterable. These values are not airy abstractions, but are the mortar to our mosaic, cementing our strength as a diverse global community, and our resilience as an inclusive environment for all our members.

We will move forward as one university.

Joseph E. Aoun