Re “Internal report recommends MIT retain its Saudi ties” (Page A1, Dec. 7): The draft letter from MIT associate provost Richard Lester, described in the Globe last week, was released on the same day as the first faculty-student forum at MIT on the relationship between MIT and the Saudi monarchy. At that well-attended meeting, many MIT faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and staff members expressed strong disagreement with the Lester draft letter. They noted that MIT should not be supporting the Saudi monarchy or any of its agencies, given: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s suspected complicity in the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi; the Saudi military aggression in Yemen that has resulted in the deaths of more than 1,200 children, while an estimated 13 million Yemenites could soon face starvation, according to October UN reports; bin Salman’s imprisonment of hundreds of supporters of a constitutional government and leaders of the women’s rights movement; and the Saudi role in suppressing the 2011 democracy movement in Bahrain.
The Saudi war crimes make it difficult to maintain that the MIT-Saudi collaboration supports MIT’s mission of advancing science and education to “best serve the nation and the world”.
This letter was additionally cosigned by an MIT professor and an MIT staff member.