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Letter to UA

Dear UA leaders,

Thank you for your official letter conveying the results of the recent UA referendum.

The referendum has been much on our minds since we first learned that it would be on the ballot. Please consider this the Institute’s formal response.

We are keenly aware of the immense human suffering in the Middle East and of the great pain the war continues to cause for many students and other members of our community.  

In a time of deep divisions across the country as well as on our campus, our focus remains on maintaining an environment in which everyone can feel free to do the work they came here to do. It was therefore discouraging to see complex and contested questions presented as a single yes-or-no referendum vote, in a way bound to feel alienating to many members of our community.

We understand that this referendum originated via a petition. As a self-governing body representing all MIT undergraduates, the UA is free to solicit the views of its members, to offer up referenda for a vote, and to express the results. We respect that process. However, UA resolutions do not have any binding power on the Institute and should not be construed by anyone as representing the MIT administration.

To be clear on the referendum’s two demands of the Institute:

  • On the question of research funding, MIT relies on rigorous processes to ensure that all funded research complies with MIT policies and US law. Within those standards, MIT faculty have the fundamental academic freedom to pursue funding for research of interest in their fields.
  • At MIT, issues of student conduct and discipline are not decided by popular vote but rather via a well-established faculty-led process.

Thank you again for sharing the election results.

Please know that we’re grateful for all that you and others across our campus do to help hold the community together.  Such efforts are of the utmost importance now.

Melissa Nobles, Chancellor