Boston: MIT Suspends Pro-Palestinian Student Group Over Protest

MIT President Sally Kornbluth said the pro-Palestinian student group was suspended for violating campus protest rules.

Boston: MIT Suspends Pro-Palestinian Student Group Over Protest

Photo: Marcio -

BOSTON — Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) suspended a pro-Palestinian student group for violating campus protest rules, says the school’s president.

The school’s student chapter of the Coalition Against Apartheid (CAA) was suspended as a recognized student organization following a Feb. 12 demonstration at the Student Center, reports. The group was protesting Israel’s airstrikes and a looming invasion of Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city where many Palestinians sought refuge during ordered evacuations.

“Last night, Israel began a bombing onslaught of Rafah, where almost 2 million displaced Palestinians from across Gaza have been concentrated. This escalation shows how the genocidal regime will not stop in attempting to exterminate the Palestinian people in Gaza without global pressure,” the group posted on social media ahead of the protest. “At MIT, where we do projects for the Israeli Ministry of Defense at the tune of MILLIONS, it begins with ending these ties to the genocidal Israeli forces and sending a clear signal that business will not continue as usual.”

President Sally Kornbuth said in a video message to the community that CAA members “once again conducted a demonstration on campus without going through the normal permission processes that apply to every student group at MIT.”

“I want to be clear that suspending the CAA is not related to the content of their speech. I fully support the right of everyone on our campus to express their views. However, we have clear, reasonable ‘time, place and manner’ policies in place – for a good reason,” she continued. “The point of these policies is to make sure that members of the MIT community can work, learn and do their research on campus without disruption. We also need to keep the community safe — and we can’t do that without enough advance notice to organize staff and police resources. That’s why we have the rules.”

In an email, says the CAA argued the rules either weren’t enforced or did not exist before their protests for Palestine. An MIT spokesperson said the rules are not new, and the school “felt it important to amplify these guidelines” recently due to increased protesting last fall and an “unwillingness for certain groups to meet with us.”

As part of the suspension, the group is banned from reserving any space on campus and is barred from using MIT facilities. CAA also will not receive the standard student group funding and will not be allowed to organize any further protests or demonstrations anywhere on campus. The suspension will stay in place until the school’s Committee on Discipline makes a “formal determination,” according to the Boston Herald.

Kornbluth concluded her video message by noting it is “legitimate to criticize the policies of any government, including the current government of Israel, as indeed many Israelis do,” but that it is not okay “to vilify and shun Israeli and Jewish members of our community.” She also emphasized it is not okay “to vilify everyone who advocates for the Palestinian people as supporting Hamas.”

Kornbluth was one of three university presidents who spoke during a congressional hearing last year to discuss increasing antisemitism on college campuses. All three were criticized for their responses, and UPenn’s and Harvard’s presidents eventually resigned as a result.

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About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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