MIT Threatens To Suspend Any Anti-Israel Protesters Who Fail To Leave Encampment

Students were given two options: leave and be warned, or stay and be suspended
(Photo by Vincent Ricci/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology students residing in the anti-Israel encampment were offered two options today: leave the encampment, or stay and face suspension.

In a letter from Chancellor Melissa Nobles, students were told to leave the encampment by 2:30 P.M. or face suspension. As the deadline passed, most students had cleared the encampment, though a handful of individuals remained, according to Daily Wire sources on the ground at the university. 

Students who agree to swipe their ID card for a time stamp and voluntarily leave will be given a written warning to not further violate any policies. If students who have already been sanctioned by the school leave by the deadline, it will be seen as a “significant mitigating factor” when the school reviews their case.

For those who do not leave and have not yet faced sanctions, they will be placed on “academic suspension” and be barred from classes, exams, or research activities until the end of the semester but will be allowed to live in their dorms and use dining halls. Those who are sanctioned will be required to leave campus entirely. 

“You will also be prohibited from participating in commencement activities or any cocurricular activities,” Nobles wrote. “You will also not be permitted to reside in your assigned residence hall or use MIT dining halls. You must leave campus immediately, but you will continue to have access to services at MIT Health.”

MIT president Sally Kornbluth shared the letter, writing that she decided the university must “take action to bring closure to a situation that has disrupted our campus for more than two weeks.”

“I know many of you feel strongly that the encampment should be allowed to continue indefinitely – that the protest is simply a peaceful exercise of the right to free expression, and that normal rules around campus conduct shouldn’t apply in the face of such tragic loss of life in Gaza,” she wrote.

She explained that the encampment situation is disruptive and “highly unstable.”

“And no matter how peaceful the students’ behavior may be, unilaterally taking over a central portion of our campus for one side of a hotly disputed issue and precluding use by other members of our community is not right,” Kornbluth wrote. 

She added that people unaffiliated with the college are getting involved and planning protests and that MIT staff and police have had to work to “defuse several tense confrontations.”

On Friday after the Israeli American Council held a pro-Israel rally across the street from the encampment, some pro-Israel demonstrators tried to enter the encampment. In one interaction, Harvard Divinity Student, Shabbos Kestenbaum, wea denied entry until police escorted him in.

“I want to let all of you know that you’re not going to intimidate Jewish people,” he told the campers. “You can hide behind your masks as long as you want, we will not be scared.”

In a video inside the encampment that went viral over the weekend, anti-Israel protesters chanted “from water to water, Palestine is Arab” and “from water to water death to Zionism.”

Jewish MIT student Talia Khan who has been at the forefront of raising awareness about the anti-Israel sentiment taking over her campus welcomed MIT cracking down on the encampment.

“I am grateful to see that MIT is finally stepping up and enforcing its rules for the first time in 6 months,” she told The Daily Wire. “I truly hope that it follows through. Only time will tell if Sally really has a spine.”

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