Hundreds gather in Lobby 7 before Copley protest

Several hundred MIT community members met in Lobby 7 Sunday before participating in a larger protest in Copley Square against the ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.

An email from Provost Martin A. Schmidt, Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart PhD ’88, and Vice President for Research Maria Zuber encouraged the MIT community to attend the rally in Lobby 7 in order to “join in a show of support for MIT’s values.”  

The Lobby 7 rally, which was coordinated by the MIT Democrats, featured poster-making supplies, voter registration materials, and snacks.

An email from faculty chair Krishna Rajagopal invited all faculty members to attend the rally. He shared his “deep concern” that travel for MIT affiliates had been “curtailed in a sharp and uncertain manner.”

MIT Democrats co-president Caroline Mak ’18 and Chancellor Barnhart both spoke briefly at the rally. Barnhart thanked everyone for coming and said that MIT plans to work hard to bring all affected students back to campus.

Chancellor Barnhart herself did not attend the protest in Copley; she said she stayed  behind to keep in touch with the international students affected by the travel ban.

Around noon, people set out from Lobby 7 toward Copley Square, walking in a large clump across Harvard bridge.

Thousands of protesters from all around the Boston area packed the Copley Square plaza and the surrounding streets. “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here!” they chanted.

Protest organizers and guests spoke from the steps of Trinity Church. These speakers included Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, CAIR Massachusetts executive director John Robbins, and Cambridge City Councilman and MIT alumnus Nadeem A. Mazen ’06.