Hundreds of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) alumni have united in criticism of the school’s leadership, specifically targeting the administration’s support for MIT President Sally Kornbluth.
This response follows what they term a “disastrous” congressional testimony by President Kornbluth.
Over 700 MIT Jewish alumni and allies have expressed their disappointment and concern through a strongly worded letter to the MIT Corporation and administration.
A United Voice Against Inaction
The letter criticizes the administration’s lack of action following President Kornbluth’s Capitol Hill testimony.
During this testimony, Kornbluth’s statements suggested that genocide against Jews might not always be considered bullying and harassment under MIT’s code of conduct, contingent on the context.
This has caused a significant uproar within the MIT community, particularly among its Jewish members.
Allegations of Inadequate Response to Antisemitism
The alumni’s letter raises concerns about President Kornbluth’s handling of antisemitism on campus. “President Kornbluth’s failure to control antisemitism on MIT’s campus has distracted MIT’s students and administration from MIT’s core mission,” the letter alleges.
The signatories express their alarm at MIT gaining a reputation for antisemitism under Kornbluth’s leadership, overshadowing its academic achievements.
Impact on MIT’s Reputation and Future
The alumni emphasize the impact of MIT’s public image on its ability to attract top-tier students, faculty, and research partners.
They point out that despite the controversial testimony, the executive board of the MIT Corporation continues to support President Kornbluth.
Notably, Kornbluth did not issue an apology or clarification in response to the backlash, setting her apart from other university presidents.
Broad Spectrum of Criticism
Kornbluth’s testimony received widespread criticism from various public figures, including members of the Biden administration, politicians from both major U.S. parties, and notable legal scholars.
This unanimous disapproval, the alumni argue, highlights the severity of the situation.
Demands for Action
The letter concludes with a call for “immediate and concrete” action from MIT. The alumni demand the enforcement of meaningful consequences for those who violate MIT’s rules, the establishment of an antisemitism-specific task force, and a clear declaration that calls for violence against civilians are grounds for expulsion.
They urge the MIT administration to take decisive steps to create a safe and inclusive environment for all members of the MIT community, particularly ensuring the protection of Jewish students against harassment.
The alumni await a response from the MIT administration, hoping for a swift and effective resolution that reaffirms MIT’s commitment to inclusivity and academic excellence.