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Despite Criticism and Complaints, MIT Won't Cut Ties to Saudi Arabia

Accepted submission by takyon at 2019-02-07 03:23:50
Career & Education

Despite criticism and complaints, MIT won't cut ties to Saudi Arabia []

MIT won't sever its financial and research ties to Saudi Arabian government groups over the brutal killing of a journalist, despite the urging of many faculty and students, and complaints by some of the university's female researchers that they face more restrictions than their male colleagues when working in the Saudi kingdom.

On Wednesday, MIT president, L. Rafael Reif, denounced the behavior of the Saudi regime for violating human rights but rejected calls to unilaterally pull out of engagements in the Middle Eastern country.

MIT needs to provide faculty autonomy to decide whether they want to remain on the current projects and can't abandon those in Saudi Arabia, including alumni, who are trying to modernize the kingdom, Reif said.

"MIT utterly condemns such brutal human rights violations, discrimination and suppression of dissent, including the murder of Jamal Khashoggi," Reif said in a message to the MIT community. "Nevertheless, I hope we can respond to present circumstances in a way that does not suddenly reject, abandon, or isolate worthy Saudi people who share our principles and are doing good work."

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