While governing boards at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania weighed their presidents’ fates in tense closed-door meetings this month, the board at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology swiftly issued a statement of unequivocal support for its president, Sally Kornbluth.
Faculty leaders, department heads and deans at M.I.T. soon followed with their own endorsements of Dr. Kornbluth, who along with the Harvard and Penn presidents gave evasive, legalistic answers at a congressional hearing about antisemitism on campus. Donors did not flock to social media to demand her removal; many students, busy with exams, paid scant attention to the spectacle.
Dr. Kornbluth, who arrived at M.I.T. less than a year ago, appeared to face no serious threat to her leadership, even though her testimony at the hearing last week attracted the same harsh criticism as that of the other two presidents, Claudine Gay of Harvard and Elizabeth Magill of Penn. The three leaders drew fire for how they responded to questions about whether they would discipline students who called for the genocide of Jews, and for putting heavy emphasis on protecting free speech.
…Professor Mary Fuller, the faculty chair at M.I.T., referred a reporter to her letter of support for Dr. Kornbluth, signed by more than a dozen past chairs. “Let me point you to something solid,” she wrote in an email, “rather than trying to describe the mood of thousands of people on the cusp of finals (and winter break).”