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University President Lee Bollinger urged students, faculty and staff to turn to Columbia’s “fundamental values” on Wednesday.

University President Lee Bollinger urged students, faculty and staff to turn to Columbia's "fundamental values"—including freedom of thought and expression and respect for tolerance, reason and diversity—in an email on Wednesday.

The announcement comes as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's victory has shocked the nation, including Columbia's mostly-liberal campus.

"Certainly, not in my lifetime has there been a choice embraced by so many while also causing feelings of apprehension and vulnerability among so many others, including many students, faculty and staff across our diverse University community," Bollinger said.

Bollinger has previously said that he thought it would be a "real pity" if Trump were elected president, and alluded to Trump's campaign during Columbia College's Class Day.

"We do not believe you can give any answer to any question you are asked, without being embarrassed," Bollinger said to sustained applause. "We believe you should not personally attack or belittle those you disagree with."

In his email sent on Wednesday, Bollinger also encouraged students and faculty to continue on with the work of scholarship and teaching, "which is not only our central mission but ultimately the best answer to overcoming divisions and even the risk, feared by many, that our principles may be violated," he said.

Read the full email here:

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I am writing because of concerns for our community arising out of yesterday's national election.  Certainly, not in my lifetime has there been a choice that is embraced by so many while also causing feelings of apprehension and vulnerability among so many others, including many students, faculty, and staff across our diverse University community.

There are three primary challenges for the country and, more importantly for purposes of this letter, for our community.  The first is that those in distress have the right opportunities to raise and discuss whatever anxieties they are feeling now.  I will be personally engaged in this dialogue, and I strongly urge you to seek out the discussions and meetings being planned throughout the University by all schools and departments.  The second is that we not let different viewpoints about this election, strong as the feelings on every side might be, descend into intolerance or intimidation.  This requires strong intellectual character on all our parts.  And the third point is that we all have to make sure that we are able to continue on with the work of scholarship and teaching, which is not only our central mission but ultimately the best answer to overcoming divisions and even the risk, feared by many, that our principles may be violated.

In these moments, we must turn to our fundamental values, among them a commitment to freedom of thought and expression, dedication to tolerance and reason, respect for diversity and differing points of view, and a determination to do what we do with the utmost integrity and courage.

Sincerely,

Lee C. Bollinger

catie.edmondson@columbiaspectator.com | @CatieEdmondson

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