Campus Events Around the Gaza Conflict

Campus Events Around the Gaza Conflict

The purpose of this page is to collect in one place the various campus updates, relevant news and commentary, and other notable developments in the MIT community spurred by the controversy of the previous few months. It may be occasionally updated as more information comes to light or additional notable developments occur.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has provided an unambiguous opportunity and need to defend the value of free speech on the MIT campus. MFSA recognizes this and intends to use the current crisis to improve MIT’s policies, institutional structures, practices and messaging.

What Has Happened at MIT

The immediate aftermath of the Hamas invasion of Israel on October 7, 2023, produced strong reactions on university campuses across the nation, including MIT. At MIT there were demonstrations, postering and other expressions of support for both Israel and for Palestinians. These initially did not raise significant concern regarding disruption of campus activities or involve speech not otherwise protected by the First Amendment.

On November 9, however, demonstrators supporting Palestinians staged a protest in the Building 7 Lobby, despite having been told previously that this was disallowed by a newly-enacted policy on time, place, and manner. Pro-Israel protesters counter-demonstrated in the same location.  When asked to leave, the pro-Israel demonstrators did, but the pro-Palestinian demonstrators did not. MIT initiated disciplinary procedures against a few of the pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

On December 5th President Kornbluth appeared before Congress to give testimony about MIT’s response to events on its campus since October 7.

On February 12, 2024, a week after students returned to campus for the spring semester, pro-Palestinians protestors returned to the Building 7 Lobby for an unauthorized demonstration. This time the administration was more prepared and imposed sanctions quickly.

On March 8th, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was added to the list of universities being investigated by the House Education and Workforce Committee over campus antisemitism in the wake of the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel. The Congressional committee is already investigating Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Pennsylvania over this issue.

What MFSA Has to Say

MFSA has been tracking the events on campus and monitoring MIT's response, especially regarding the free speech issues that this controversy has crystallized. You can find a compilation of our commentary here. This information is also available on our website under MFSA Commentary.

MIT Administration Messaging

Throughout this crisis, the MIT administration has issued statements commenting on the Middle East controversy and its impact on the MIT community. MIT maintains a web page which gives its viewpoint and provides updates regarding events on campus, sharing relevant policies, and correcting misinformation. A larger list of MIT official communications is here.

Other Voices from the MIT Community

Other members of the MIT community have also expressed their reactions to the Gaza conflict, to the resulting events on the MIT campus, and to the MIT administration's response to events. A synopsis of these responses is listed here.

Press Coverage of the MIT Controversy

Understandably given MIT's visibility and prestige, events around the MIT campus have been reported on by the national press. A partial list of this press coverage is provided here.