Opinion letter to the editor

President Reif responds to letter on Saudi Arabia

A thorough and careful review of MIT’s ties with Saudi Arabia is a pre-requisite to any changes to the relationship

To the Editors,

Last week, a group of graduate students in MIT’s Department of Political Science penned a thoughtful open letter to me in The Tech about MIT’s engagements with Saudi Arabia.  I have responded to the students directly but want to share my reply with your readers as well.

Following the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi earlier this month, I asked Associate Provost Richard Lester, who oversees MIT’s international activities, to reassess our Institute-level engagements with entities of Saudi Arabia. On Oct. 15, Professor Lester wrote to the faculty to inform them of his charge and ask for their input.

I appreciate the students’ concerns and understand their desire for action. However, given the importance of this process, I feel it would be inappropriate for me to make any decision or comment further until Professor Lester has completed his review and formulated a recommendation.  I intend to share his recommendation with the full MIT community after I have reviewed it.

L. Rafael Reif