Rafael Reif and Mohammad Bin Salman

MIT President Rafael Reif and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman outside of the MIT Media Lab in March 2018. One of Jamal Khashoggi's alleged assassins is on the far right.

Why This Is Important

MIT and Harvard rolling out the red carpet for the Saudi Crown Prince in March 2018 was no fluke: it is symptomatic of the lack of democracy on campuses across the United States. Increasingly, university administrators act in our name, but without our involvement.

We believe a meaningful outcome from the controversy around Saudi partnerships would be an alternative, community-based process for how universities should conduct themselves, consisting of three parts:

  1. Reckon with the harms done when universities affiliate with dubious partners.
  2. Disclose the scope and terms of university partnerships, which are generally negotiated secretly and without involvement of the university community (students, staff, and broader local community).
  3. Repair what’s broken by formulating a collective, community-based process for deliberating about partnerships (and what their terms and goals should be).

What To Do About It

Our first public event was on February 27 at Cambridge Public Library. Here is what you can do:

Elite Universities Are Selling Themselves - And Look Who's Buying

The Guardian
March 2018

The hypocrisy in MIT’s moralizing

MIT Tech
April 2018

Secretive, Dubious Partnerships': Harvard Quietly Keeps Strong Saudi Connections

Harvard Crimson
October 2018

Ethical Obligations of Universities in Their Transnational Engagements

MIT Faculty Newsletter
December 2018