May 5 Open Letter on ill-considered decisions

May 5, 2024

Sent to President Kornbluth and other members of the administration

Dear President Kornbluth,

One ill-considered decision will often lead to the creation of a pattern of ill- considered decisions.

Over the past few weeks, based upon actions taken as well as published written statements and public addresses made by you with the support of certain of your institutional leaders, institutional administrators, institutional faculty, and the MIT Corporation Board, you have elected to assist, indefinitely prolong, and structurally reinforce the establishment of an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic encampment within the open-access campus grounds of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During this unsanctioned occupation of Kresge Oval, occupants of this encampment have continued to harass MIT’s minority religious Jewish community and, with your direct and indirect assistance, interfere with the Jewish students’ personal agency, ultimately prohibiting them from their right to express religious freedom of practice in their official MIT campus Center of Jewish Life. The most egregious of your transgressions, however, has been the introduction, with enforcement by MIT Police, of the continuous restriction of MIT Jewish students from exercising freedom of access to an outside common area of the MIT campus which is now within the unsanctioned protest encampment.

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By your failure to effectively address, by your actions taken, and by your actions not taken, you have provided de facto endorsement of and given de facto consent to the unsanctioned encampment and to its occupants. With the support of certain of the MIT Corporation, MIT leadership, and MIT administration, you have taken the indefensible and morally reprehensible step of systematically transforming Jewish students within the MIT community from full citizens to disenfranchised outcasts.

To many of us this resurrects horrific memories shared by family members of similar actions taken and similar restrictions imposed on the Jewish community by the Nazis 80 years ago.

Though inaccuracies and misinformation will intentionally continue to be placed before us – between what we observe and what we know to be fact – we will continue to expose truth to light and to champion the notion that civil rights and religious freedoms must be equally shared by MIT’s Jewish students and by all Jewish members of the MIT community as they are shared by all other citizens of MIT.

We trust you will immediately and without further delay direct your staff to remove the unsanctioned encampment and its occupants from Kresge Oval and fully restore to your Jewish students on campus their civil and religious freedom rights as full citizens of MIT.