A prominent computer scientist at MIT has resigned after accusing the university of failing to protect and defend Jewish students and staff from extreme campus antisemitism that followed the October terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens.
Mauricio Karchmer, a lecturer at MIT since 2019, announced his resignation in a LinkedIn post Jan. 3 that stated it was a difficult decision, noting his Introduction to Algorithms course is taken by over 60 percent of undergrads at MIT.
“During a time when the Jewish and Israeli students, staff and faculty were particularly vulnerable, instead of offering the support they needed, the broader MIT community exhibited open hostility towards them,” Karchmer wrote. “Like many other college campuses nationwide, the institute clearly failed this test.”
According to some on-campus testimonies, Jewish and Israeli students at MIT were at one point “blockaded” from attending classes in the wake of the terrorist attacks and were afraid to even leave their dorm rooms.
Karchmer did not respond to requests from The College Fix seeking additional comment.
In his post, Karchmer also accused MIT of promoting a specific ideology over critical thinking skills. While he did not mention it by name, MIT has been accused of embracing diversity, equity and inclusion principles, making national headlines in 2021 after canceling a scientist’s guest lecture because he is a critic of DEI.
“Some areas of study at MIT seem to prioritize promoting a specific worldview over teaching critical thinking skills. This seems to have been institutionalized in many of MIT’s departments and programs,” Karchmer wrote.
“MIT has some work to do if it wants to continue in its mission ‘to educate students in areas of scholarship to best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.’”
Karchmer’s resignation, and MIT’s embrace of DEI was denounced in a Jan. 4 City Journal piece by Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald. Mac Donald scolded MIT President Sally Kornbluth for a tone deaf decision to announce MIT’s inaugural Vice President for Equity and Inclusion last week amid DEI and antisemitism scandals.
“MIT is a science school. Its faculty and graduates have furthered mankind’s conquest of disease, catastrophe, and ignorance by prying loose the secrets of the universe, the atom, and the cell. Nowhere in that triumph of knowledge and discovery did a conscious engineering of ‘representation’ and ‘diversity’ play a role,” she wrote.
Mac Donald told The College Fix that Karchmer’s resignation illustrates a much larger problem bubbling under the surface at MIT.
“Mauricio Karchmer is the tip of the iceberg. Many more professors feel as constrained as Professor Karchmer but they do not have the means or the courage to speak out,” Mac Donald wrote. “We need a mass organization of dissident academics, which will provide strength in numbers.”
Some MIT alumni and student groups have formed relatively recently to defend free speech, academic freedom and open inquiry at the institution to combat what they contend is MIT’s wrongheaded embrace of DEI.
While they have made some inroads, the creation of an MIT Vice President for Equity and Inclusion was described by Mac Donald as proof MIT remains “unrepentant.”
“If one wanted evidence of the disconnect between university culture and the outside world, Kornbluth’s announcement provides it,” she wrote.
Kornbluth remains under pressure to resign after her controversial testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives in December. Karchmer’s resignation one month later appears to have added fuel to the fire.
Kornbluth is the only one of three Ivy League presidents yet to resign from the congressional testimony scandal. Two others have since resigned, Harvard’s Claudine Gay and the University of Pennsylvania’s Liz Magill, who were both widely criticized for failing to sufficiently condemn antisemitism and calls for genocide against Jews on their campuses.
Kornbluth testified that comments calling for “intifada” may be antisemitic “depending on the context, when calling for the elimination of the Jewish people.” Kornbluth said such calls were antisemitic only if the speech is “targeted at individuals, not making public statements.”
MIT Professor Retsef Levi wrote on X on Jan. 2 that the “failure of leadership at MIT is already costing the departure of important members of the community.”
“Without leadership change, this is likely not to be the last departure,” Levi wrote, referring to Karchmer’s resignation. “The MIT faculty have to step up and restore the right values & integrity!”
Haaretz reported Jan. 3 that Jewish MIT alumni have launched a campaign to force MIT’s hand: “Campaign organizers are urging Jewish graduates and their allies to reduce their annual gift to MIT to a token $1, in response to what they describe as ‘continued inaction following numerous antisemitic incidents on campus.'”
An MIT spokesperson confirmed Monday to The College Fix that Karchmer is no longer teaching at the school, but declined to comment further.
Editor’s note: Updated with statement from MIT.