The New York Post reports that Jewish students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they were prevented from attending classes by a “blockade” of hostile anti-Israel students — and fear the school is “not safe for Jews.”
An open letter from the MIT Israel Alliance alleges that Jewish and Israeli students were “physically” obstructed from classrooms by a “hostile” pro-Palestinian group called the Coalition Against Apartheid (CAA)
“This is after students from the CAA harassed MIT staff members in their offices for being Jewish and interrupted classes in the past few weeks,” the letter reads. “Many Jewish students fear leaving their dorm rooms and have stated that they feel MIT is not safe for Jews."
“This message is compounded by the public and private warnings of Hillel [the school’s graduate Jewish community] and many faculty that Jewish students should not enter MIT’s main lobby today.”
The Israel Alliance claims that the protesters were ordered to leave four hours later, but only the Jewish students there to counterprotest did so.
“Indeed, the CAA proceeded to invite more students and non-MIT protestors to join them in calling for a violent uprising (“Intifada”) and justifying the terror attacks of Hamas on Israeli civilians,” the Alliance said.
The Alliance claims that an hour later, all students received a warning to avoid the area where the protest was taking place, “officially recognizing the danger present to students as a result of this violent protest.”
“The onus to protect Jewish students should not be on the students themselves. The CAA hosted a blockade that not only disregards MIT guidelines, but also obstructs Jewish students from attending classes,” the letter said.
The MIT Israel Alliance noted the CAA protest was on the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht. "We are seeing history repeating itself and Jews on MIT’s campus are afraid,” the letter concluded.
MIT president Sally Kornbluth said in a statement that students who defied the order to leave the lobby will be disciplined, but not barred from classes.
“Because we later heard serious concerns about collateral consequences for the students, such as visa issues, we have decided, as an interim action, that the students who remained after the deadline will be suspended from non-academic campus activities,” Kornbluth said.
“The students will remain enrolled at MIT and will be able to attend academic classes and labs. We will refer this interim action to the Ad Hoc Complaint Response Team, which includes the chair of the Committee on Discipline, for final adjudication,” she continued.
“As I have affirmed many times, MIT staunchly supports the right to free expression for everyone at MIT. However, as the MIT Statement on Freedom of Expression and Academic Freedom makes clear, ‘the time, place, and manner of protected expression, including organized protests, may be restrained so as not to disrupt the essential activities of the Institute,’” Kornbluth added.