As a 1981 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I have been appalled by the behavior of the president of the university, Sally Kornbluth, in the face of the antisemitism now infesting MIT, something that wasn’t there when I was a student.

I echo all of the serious concerns raised by over 700 other MIT alumni who, on Dec. 11, sent a letter to Kornbluth and the MIT Corporation, the board that runs the university, over the “continued failure of the MIT administration to address” this dangerous plague. Kornbluth has lost the moral authority to continue as the president of MIT.

In fact, in a tone-deaf move, the members of that board issued a statement on Dec. 7 expressing their full support for Kornbluth, which, as the alumni letter correctly says, sends the wrong message to the “MIT community, and especially its Jewish members.” The statement says the board members “utterly reject” all “forms of hate” yet they refuse to take any action against those who have been spewing such hate on campus.

Of course, this tolerance for racist behavior is also no surprise to me, given MIT’s abandonment of basic principles of equal treatment of its students based on merit, regardless of their race or ethnicity, that started in the 1990s. That is when MIT started discriminating on the basis of skin color in its admissions policy. It even filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, aiming to justify such invidious discrimination, in the ultimately successful lawsuits filed by Asian American students against Harvard and the University of North Carolina.

The scandal involves Kornbluth’s dismaying and highly criticized testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Dec. 5, where she was accompanied by her woke apologists for students supporting a designated terrorist organization, Hamas, the plagiarist president of Harvard and the now resigned-before-being-fired president of the University of Pennsylvania.

At that hearing, Kornbluth implied, as the alumni letter says, “that calls for genocide of Jews may not constitute bullying and harassment under MIT’s code of conduct, depending on context.”

What context could possibly justify support for terrorist attacks and a call for genocide?! Protecting those who engage in such violent rhetoric, as my 700 fellow alumni have said, “rather than the Jewish victims of such rhetoric, sends a strong signal to the rest of the world that violent words of hate are acceptable, at least as they relate to the Jewish people.”

Somehow, I doubt that if rhetoric calling for the extermination of blacks had been spewed at these supposedly elite universities any of these college presidents would have waited a second to immediately condemn it or take disciplinary actions against the students spewing such venom.

That raises the more substantive problem. The problem isn’t just Kornbluth’s regrettable and inexplicable testimony. It is also her refusal to take any action to suspend or expel the pro-Hamas, antisemitic students who have harassed, threatened, and intimidated Jewish students and faculty members, disrupted classes, protested in areas that the school has said explicitly are off-limits for protests, and blocked access to the main lobby of MIT in November. 

As a letter from current Israeli and Jewish MIT students recounts, the administration took no steps against these students for any of these actions that not only threatened other students and faculty, but physically kept Jewish students out of buildings and prevented them from attending classes.

The worst actions of these thugs who masquerade as college students occurred on Nov. 9, the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the day Jews all over Germany were attacked. 

That is not just a coincidence since these ill-behaved—(and that’s putting it mildly—students who support Hamas, in their calls for a violent uprising or Intifada and their justification for the terror attacks by Hamas, are echoing the same antisemitism and violence perpetrated by the Nazis.

What did Kornbluth and the MIT administration do about that? Instead of dispersing, arresting, and detaining these thugs, the administration warned Jewish students not “to enter MIT’s main lobby” to breach the blockade because of a “risk to their physical safety.” They were told, says the student complaint letter, “to enter campus from back entrances and not stay in Hillel [a Jewish student facility] for fear of their physical safety.” 

MIT allowed these terrorism supporters to overrun the campus and refused to protect their victims.

And what was Kornbluth’s excuse? In a Nov. 9 letter to “members of the MIT community,” Kornbluth refused to take action because she had “serious concerns about collateral consequences for the students, such as visa issues.” In other words, she wanted to make sure that Hamas supporters who were foreign students wouldn’t have their visas canceled or get deported.

In fact, that is exactly what should be happening. Antisemites who support terrorism and genocide, and who themselves terrorize fellow students and MIT faculty, not only shouldn’t be at the institute, if they are not U.S. citizens, they shouldn’t be in the country.

Kornbluth’s badly misguided priorities are just another example of why she is unfit to be the president of what was once known as, but appears to be no longer, the premier science and engineering school in the country.

Kornbluth’s Nov. 9 letter says that she was “heartened by an effort from faculty to develop a Day of Dialogue.” There has already been a Day of Dialogue at MIT, a day (in fact, several days) of violent, racist, antisemitic “dialogue.” The institute doesn’t need another day of that. 

What MIT needs is a new president (and, frankly, a new board of trustees) who immediately and loudly condemns all calls for genocide. It needs a president and administration that expels all students who support terrorist organizations and have been involved in harassing, intimidating, and threatening other students. 

MIT needs someone who makes MIT once again a safe haven for students who want to become this nation’s best scientists, engineers, and technologists, and an institution that implements zero tolerance for the kind of hoodlums who are roaming the campus today being protected by an administration that has lost its way.    

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