The Nieman Foundation for Journalism joins Harvard President Drew Faust in expressing concern about the arrest of Harvard professor and Nieman Advisory Board member Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his own home in Cambridge last week. Although the charges against him have been dropped, Gates has demanded an apology and expressed his belief that racial profiling played a role in the incident.
In a prepared statement, President Faust said “I am gratified that the charges against Professor Gates have been dropped and that all parties involved have recognized and reaffirmed his strong reputation and character. I feel privileged to consider Skip not just an esteemed colleague, but a friend. I have been in regular communication with him since Thursday and I was profoundly saddened to hear him describe what he experienced. I continue to be deeply troubled by the incident.
Legacies of racial injustice remain an unfortunate and painful part of the American experience, and inform our views, our actions, and their consequences. As President Obama has remarked, ours is an imperfect union, and while perfect justice may always elude us, we can and must do better.”
Nieman Curator Bob Giles added “The Nieman Foundation is deeply disappointed that the situation escalated as it did, but we are pleased that we now can move forward with a broader dialogue about race in America.”