An Open Letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Regarding P.J. Crowley’s Resignation

March 14, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
US Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Madam Secretary,

We the undersigned are writing to express our severe disappointment at the resignation of P.J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Public Affairs at the State Department.

A number of us were present at the meeting where Mr. Crowley expressed his personal opinions, but all of us are concerned to learn that Mr. Crowley’s statements appear to have led to his resignation.  In the context of an open and honest discussion in an academic institution, we were eager to hear Mr. Crowley’s views and willing to give him our opinions and advice. It is this type of openness to dissenting opinions, frankness of assessments, and honesty of discourse that leads to both the advancement of human knowledge and the healthy function of an open, democratic society.  We are discouraged to find such dialogue prompting the resignation of a public official. If public officials are made to fear expressing their truthful opinions, we have laid the groundwork for ineffective, dishonest, and unresponsive governance.

We hope that you agree with such sentiments and we look forward to seeing renewed support for frank civic dialogue at the State Department.
 
Signed:
 
Dan Schultz
Research Associate, MIT Center for Future Civic Media

Charles DeTar
MIT Center for Future Civic Media Fellow

Christopher P. Csikszentmihályi
Director, MIT Center for Future Civic Media

Lisa Williams
CEO, Placeblogger

Ethan Zuckerman
MIT Center for Future Civic Media Fellow

Nadav Aharony
MIT Center for Future Civic Media Fellow

Audubon Dougherty
Research Associate, MIT Center for Future Civic Media

Jay Silver
MIT Center for Future Civic Media Fellow

Lorrie LeJeune
Program Manager, MIT Center for Future Civic Media

Nitin Sawhney
Lecturer and Research Fellow, MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology

Matthew Hockenberry
Visiting Scientist, MIT Center for Future Civic Media

Teru Kuwayama
TED Global Fellow, Dart/Ochberg fellow, John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University

Ian Wojtowicz
Graduate Student, MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology

Pablo Rey Mazón
Visiting Scientist, MIT Center for Future Civc Media

Susan Tresch Fienberg
Development Officer, MIT Comparative Media Studies

Tahir Amin
TED India Fellow

Jim Paradis
Interim Director, MIT Comparative Media Studies Program, Robert M. Metcalfe Prof. of Writing

Rick Borovoy
Research Scientist, MIT Center for Future Civic Media

Rahul Bhargava
Researcher, MIT Center for Future Civic Media

Regan St. Pierre
Community Outreach Manager, MIT Center for Future Civic Media

Anthony P. Vanky
MIT School of Architecture + Planning

Jing Wang
Professor of Chinese Cultural Studies, FL&L/Comparative Media Studies, MIT

William J. Uricchio
Professor of Comparative Media Studies

Scot Osterweil
Research Director, MIT Comparative Media Studies Program

Thomas Levenson
Professor of Science Writing, MIT

Sviatlana Fahmy
Assessment Researcher, MIT Center for Future Civic Media

Adam Holt
One Laptop per Child Community Manager, Sugar Labs Board

Stefan Candea
Nieman Fellow 2011, Harvard University; Co-founder of the Romanian Center for Investigative Journalism

Jeffrey Warren
Center for Future Civic Media Research Affiliate

Andrew Whitacre
Communications Manager, MIT Center for Future Civic Media

Dharmishta Rood
MIT Center for Future Civic Media Researcher

Ian Condry
Associate Professor, Comparative Media Studies

Sasha Costanza-Chock, Ph.D.
Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University

Chris Peterson
National Coalition Against Censorship

Ingeborg Endter
Consultant, Center for Future Civic Media

Josh Levinger
Former Research Associate, MIT Center for Future Civic Media; Lead Developer, Citizen Engagement Lab