It should be no surprise that scientists and doctors may disagree over the best response to the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. But in responding to COVID-19, we cannot sacrifice the free exchange of ideas, the essential process to discover the scientific truths allowing us to fight the disease. America and its universities must allow differing views without intimidation or rebuke if it hopes to successfully develop responses to such crises and to solve the public health threats of the future.

I wish to correct the misinterpretation of my social media posts that allegedly endangered citizens and public officials. I have made it clear that this was not my understanding or intent. I would never urge or support violence. This manufactured controversy only distracts from what should be our shared goal: to save lives and reduce the harms from this pandemic. My intent was never to divide us, nor to do any harm.

Unfortunately, the Stanford Faculty Senate has chosen to use its institutional voice to take sides in the debates over the complex scientific and medical questions raised by the pandemic. I fear that this precedent could further embroil the University into politics and raises the threat that the University will criticize other faculty who disagree with Stanford’s institutional views on these or other issues.