Graduate Student Union passes referendum on ceasefire in Palestine

980 graduate students voted, accounting for over 13% of the graduate student body

On April 19, the MIT Graduate Student Union (GSU) adopted a resolution that called on their members to “join the global call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza and an end to the Israeli government’s military siege and blockade of the Gaza strip.” 942 graduate students out of 7,344 voted in this election, with 70.5 percent voting in favor out of 38 abstentions. 

The resolution was titled, “Resolution affirming the need for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and ceasing MIT labor support for Israeli military objectives.” 664 students voted “Yes,” 278 voted “No,” and 38 abstained. 

The resolution states that when adopted, the GSU will “oppose all threats and intimidations towards MIT workers and community members engaging in political speech on these issues.” The GSU alleges that “two MIT graduate workers protesting in support of Palestine have had their right to union representation violated by the MIT administration during disciplinary hearings held against them.”

The resolution, citing precedence when graduate students protested against apartheid in South Africa and during the Vietnam War, calls for MIT to stop using “graduate labor to further Israeli military objectives.” It further encourages the graduate community to urge for a ceasefire, citing the Institute’s provision of funds to the Israeli military since 2015. The resolution claims that this funding has been used to develop technologies like “autonomous robotic swarms” and “algorithms for pursuit-evasion strategies.” 

The MIT Undergraduate Association adopted a similar resolution on March 23

Editor's Note: A previous version of this article stated that 70.5 percent of voters voted in favor of the resolution. That figure did not consider the abstentions as a vote. This error has been rectified.

Second Editor's Note: A previous version of this article stated 67.8 percent of voters voted in favor of the resolution, which was the pre-amended value. The GSU clarified that they follow Robert's Rules of Order, a guide to parliamentary procedure, where abstentions are discounted from total voting. The previous edit has been reverted.