Message of Support

Dear Colleagues,

We write today to recognize this extraordinarily difficult moment in the life of our university and to offer you our support. Early today, President Shafik moved the university to remote learning for the day to allow for a “reset” across Columbia and a moment to reflect on our community bonds.

Every member of our community holds personal opinions of the events of the last week, and past months. Though your views and personal journeys are many, the distress and pain we feel is experienced by all. Despite deep divisions that exist, we are united in our concern for our Columbia community. To help process this challenging moment, we offer two messages.

The first is that CUIMC’s strength lies in our shared commitment to advancing health and well-being with the very highest level of skill and with unwavering compassion. We are able to succeed in this mission only by recognizing each other’s humanity.

Please stay engaged with each other regarding the essential work before us and the immensely difficult issues that are roiling our campus—even when those conversations are hard or, more to the point, especially when those conversations are hard. Dialogue is always productive when it is informed by empathy and respect. As an academic community we believe that freedom of speech and rigorous debate are integral parts of our mission. We are stronger for our exchange of ideas, knowledge, and perspectives.

Second, we once again denounce hateful language, calls for violence, and the targeting of any individuals or groups based on their beliefs, ancestry, religion, gender identity, or any other identity or affiliation. Safety is our paramount concern, and so there can be no room in our community for such behavior. The University is taking additional steps to improve security. We strongly urge each of you to report threatening incidents or speech through available channels.

The University and CUIMC offer many health and well-being resources for students, faculty, and staff. We encourage you to reach out for support as needed and to share resources with any member of our community who is struggling.

As we navigate this challenging time, there is a long road ahead of us, with no easy answers or solutions. We appreciate your patience and partnership as we work to strengthen our community ties and stay true to our mission.


Katrina Armstrong, MD
Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences, Columbia University

Lorraine Frazier, PhD, RN
Dean, School of Nursing

Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH
Dean, Mailman School of Public Health

Roseanna Graham, DDS, PhD
Interim Dean, College of Dental Medicine