The woman was walking with a group of graduate students Thursday when she saw the obscene, hateful note that "challenged her right to be at Harvard and wished her ill," Harvard's statement said.
The university did not identify the faculty member.
"We condemn this hateful act and all forms of hate speech," Harvard President Lawrence Bacow and Dean Claudine Gay wrote in a joint letter to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences community.
"Attacks of this kind are both personally damaging for those who experience them and an assault on our faculty's fundamental commitments to academic excellence," Bacow and Gay wrote. "Acts of bigotry and malice harm us all because they corrode the trust and respect that is essential to the open exchange of ideas."
Bacow and Gay said they would meet such attacks "with every resource at our disposal."
"Those who commit acts of hate seek to disrupt our academic mission. As faculty, students, and staff, we all have a stake in ensuring that this is an educational community that lives the values of tolerance, civility, and inclusion that are essential to our work."
Harvard's admissions statistics show that about 46 percent of freshmen admitted this year were white. Around 25 percent of its students were Asian-American, nearly 15 percent were African-American and about 12 percent identified as Hispanic or Latino.
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