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Hateful, Racist Note Left for Harvard Faculty Member; Probe Launched

"We write to you now to state unequivocally that we condemn this hateful act and all forms of hate speech," President Lawrence Bacow and Dean Claudine Gay wrote to the community

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Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images, File

An obscene, racist and xenophobic note was left on a Harvard faculty member's office door this week, the university said Friday as it announced it that an investigation was underway.

The note challenged the faculty member's right to be at Harvard and "wished her ill," the university's president and faculty of arts and sciences dean said in a message to the community. The faculty member and her department were not named.

"We write to you now to state unequivocally that we condemn this hateful act and all forms of hate speech, and that we will answer attacks on members of our community with every resource at our disposal," President Lawrence Bacow and Dean Claudine Gay wrote.

The faculty member was returning to the office with graduate students when she found the note, which "insulted her ethnicity and immigrant status," according to the statement.

It didn't provide more details — the university's leaders said they wanted to help restore normalcy and a sense of security and were mindful of the faculty member's privacy.

But Bacow and Gay insisted that such bigoted and malicious attacks seek to harm Harvard's commitment to inclusion and tolerance.

They "corrode the trust and respect that is essential to the open exchange of ideas," Bacow and Gay wrote.

Anyone who has information about the incident can call Harvard police investigators at 617-495-1796.

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