Open Letter: Five-Point Plan to Change MIT

Open letter to the MIT Corporation, a board of trustees that serves as the governing body of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

We, the undersigned members of the MIT community, alums, students, faculty, staff, family members, elected officials and concerned citizens are outraged about current events related to antisemitism on campus. We are writing to demand that you implement the following five-point plan to make immediate changes at MIT. We do so in response to the failure of the current MIT administration to appropriately respond to the rise of antisemitism on campus and to the failure of MIT’s President Sally Kornbluth in her Congressional testimony on December 5th to unequivocally respond that calls for genocide of the Jewish people violate MIT’s Code of Conduct. We are all disappointed that President Kornbluth is the only one of the three college presidents of UPenn, Harvard and MIT who has not publicly apologized for her statements in front of Congress.

Our group comprises members of many different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. We firmly believe that the rise of antisemitism or of any kind of hate at MIT affects all of us regardless of personal belief or affiliation. We want MIT to get back to its core mission, “to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world.”

Five-Point Plan to Change MIT

  1. ALUMNI NO CONFIDENCE VOTE: We are in shock that MIT President Kornbluth’s words, actions and inactions have tarnished the proud and hardworking reputation of MIT that many of us have worked a lifetime to uphold. She is the only MIT President that we know of who has been personally condemned and asked to resign by a bipartisan resolution of the US House of Representatives. Thousands of us have also previously called upon President Kornbluth to resign. Since President Kornbluth remains in her role, we call for an open and transparent MIT Community Vote of No Confidence to be administered by the Alumni Association. Each student or alum shall receive one vote. If she were to lose the student and alumni vote of no confidence by a simple majority, President Kornbluth must agree to resign.

  2. STOP FUNDING FROM AUTHORITARIAN REGIMES: We cannot allow money to compromise MIT’s values and democratic norms. The erosion of values at educational institutions tied to Authoritarian Regime funding is well documented, including in a recent NCRI report. We call upon the MIT Corporation to immediately and permanently stop accepting new financial contributions of any kind to MIT from any individuals or entities that are wholly or partially funded by Authoritarian Regimes, including but not limited to Qatar, China, Russia, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia. We further call upon the MIT Corporation to return any existing contributions from Authoritarian Regimes that have not already been spent. While we understand that MIT’s budget would be negatively affected, we believe that our freedom and principles are more important than MIT’s funding.

  3. TRANSPARENT AND EFFECTIVE CODE OF CONDUCT: It’s a shame that MIT students and alumni have to go in front of Congress and the news media just to get their voices heard by the MIT administration. We demand that MIT amend its Code of Conduct to clearly state that any call for genocide against anyone, regardless of context, is a violation of the Code of Conduct, the consequence of which is expulsion from the Institute. We further demand that the Code of Conduct explicitly adopts the IHRA definition of antisemitism and that it unambiguously states that anti-Zionism is antisemitism. We call upon an independent external auditor to be appointed to oversee MIT’s disciplinary committee and disciplinary process.

  4. CONFLICT OF INTEREST AUDIT: We are disturbed by recent media and social media reports alleging potential conflicts of interest between one or more MIT officials’ personal interests and their responsibilities to MIT. To clear and uphold MIT’s reputation, we call upon an externally-led conflicts audit and immediate transparency of any Conflict of Interest exemptions that have been granted to MIT Corporation Board members or senior MIT Administration officials.

  5. BOARD SEATS: We demand representation on the MIT Corporation Board. The current Board has overseen a disastrous negative change in MIT’s reputation. Change cannot happen without new voices and new leadership being heard in this critically important time for MIT. Should a new President be chosen for MIT, we specifically demand representation in that process.

Before we conclude, we would like to specifically highlight and condemn recent attempts by individual leaders of one or more large MIT Alumni Association chapters to demonstrate “alumni support” for President Kornbluth by using Alumni Association mailing lists and resources to obtain one-sided “feedback” in the form of signatures in support of the current administration, without giving alumni any option to oppose. Such one-sided attempts have been met with contempt and outrage on multiple MIT Alumni internal social media forums. Unlike these attempts, our No Confidence Vote proposal will provide real transparency and a voice to all points of view.

We hereby demand an urgent meeting to discuss the above proposal with the Board of the MIT Corporation. We ask that and petition founder Edward Cotler ‘02 and others on our leadership team be included on our behalf in this meeting.


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