The following letter from Associate Provost Richard Lester was sent to the MIT faculty on Oct. 15.
The disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the allegations about his fate and those responsible for it are matters of grave concern to all of us. President Reif has asked me, in my role as associate provost for international activities, to conduct a swift, thorough reassessment of MIT’s Institute-level engagements with entities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia so that we can determine a course of action for the Institute, and I will begin that work at once.
All of us should recognize that MIT has enjoyed highly productive educational and research collaborations with colleagues and partners in Saudi Arabia over many decades. We have also benefited from the presence of many outstanding Saudi students, faculty, and staff on our campus, and our Saudi students and colleagues here in Cambridge today are valued members of the MIT community.
As we consider how to respond to current events, individual faculty members who have or are considering engagements with Saudi Arabia will make their own determinations as to the best path forward. If you have questions about your own situation, or if you have suggestions, comments or guidance that you would like to offer about MIT’s position, I hope you will let me know.
Richard K. Lester