(A United Nations report released in June reached a similar conclusion.)Later in October, M. Richard Lester, an associate provost who oversees the school’s partnerships with foreign entities, was put in charge of that review. Once an institution goes down that road, what other donors might some on campus find objectionable? Lester had to acknowledge an uncomfortable fact: “One of those individuals now known to have played a leading role in Mr. campus,” he wrote, referring to Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a Saudi intelligence officer. community at that time — an unwelcome and unsettling intrusion into our space, even though evident only in retrospect.”Endeavor returned a 0 million investment from Saudi Arabia this year, but many other American corporations stayed in business with the kingdom. The money it receives from Saudi sources is relatively modest, less than million in many years, though the school has received individual gifts from Saudi billionaires of as much as million. Recent deals involve the research and development of methods to extract oil more efficiently and cleanly, as well as “computational modeling, artificial intelligence, robotics and nanotechnologies,” according to a university statement. has been alone in publicly grappling with what to do about its Saudi associations, which has won the university some grudging respect, even from its critics.Khashoggi’s murder in Istanbul had been part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage during the latter’s visit to the M. “This individual had engaged with members of the M. In April, the regime executed 37 people in one day, most by beheading; one of the condemned was said to have been “crucified,” with his headless body displayed in public. Chartered on the eve of the Civil War (two days before the first shots were fired), it is one of those ultrawealthy universities whose finances are sometimes compared to the economies of small or midsize nations. The agreements are part of a much larger picture: M. T.’s partnerships with big businesses in the United States and abroad. Companies pay a membership fee to sponsor research and benefit from the findings. Despite its name, the lab’s focus is on computing and technology rather than the news media. “They are the only school that’s been willing to engage at all and give us anything to push back on,” says Grif Peterson, the former fellow at the Berkman Klein Center.The statement, which has not been publicly disclosed, was not signed — the letterhead was from the Office of the Provost — and it did not say exactly why the agreement was being discontinued, only that “it has not been renewed.” There was no explicit reference to Khashoggi.
Yet despite its firm religious foundations, educating women in Saudi Arabia is a relatively new phenomenon.2, the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who lived in Virginia and was a columnist for The Washington Post, was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. lifer, having joined the faculty in 1979 when he was in his mid-20s; he is now 65.American intelligence agencies held the Saudi state responsible and concluded that the crown prince himself most likely authorized the action. announced that it was reassessing its extensive links to the kingdom. His mission was to explore whether a source of money could be so unsavory as to warrant rejecting or returning the funds — hardly an easy task. In December, Lester outlined his preliminary findings in a letter to Reif, which was also shared with faculty members and students. spent about .6 billion on its operations last year, and its endowment, .5 billion, is the sixth-largest among American universities (and greater than the gross domestic product of nearly 70 countries, including Mongolia, Nicaragua and the Republic of Congo).He was in the midst of an American tour and had already been to the White House to meet President Trump, who said, as they sat together in the Oval Office, that they had become “very good friends over a fairly short period of time.” The president thanked the prince for what he said was the kingdom’s order of billions of dollars of American-made military hardware. From Cambridge, Prince Mohammed’s travels would take him to California, where he rented the entire 285-room Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills and was the guest of honor at a dinner hosted by Rupert Murdoch and attended by numerous entertainment-industry grandees. Reif was not in his office, and they never got a response.In Silicon Valley, he met with Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, and other tech executives; in Seattle, he met with Jeff Bezos, the Amazon chief executive. is hosting has created the worst humanitarian crisis on earth. The next morning, Prince Mohammed spent several hours at M. T.’s Media Lab, a high-profile domain with a carefully cultivated progressive image and a language all its own.At the same time, the Saudi education ministry released statistics showing that women constitute almost 52 percent of university graduates inside the kingdom, while more than 35,000 female Saudis studied abroad in 2014.More than half choose to study in the United States, with the halls of campuses such as Washington, D.The protesters, a mix of students and local peace activists, wanted his invitation revoked. — and to at least 62 other American universities — at a time when the regime’s bombing of civilians in a war in neighboring Yemen and its crackdown on domestic dissidents were being condemned by human rights activists. building and walked down the Infinite Corridor to deliver a petition to the university’s president, Rafael Reif.They were opposed to the prince being welcomed as an honored dignitary and were calling attention to the Saudi state’s financial ties to M. Prince Mohammed, who is 33, became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, when he was named crown prince by his ailing father, King Salman. is hosting is a war criminal, and he should be punished for his crimes and not welcomed here.”Al-Adeimi and five others entered the M. There were some 4,000 names on the petition asking him to cancel Prince Mohammed’s visit.But when we settled into his office, he informed me, sheepishly, that I could not quote him by name. citizens and the attacks on free speech in the kingdom.” In the most recent fiscal year, according to Lester, M. “It’s a very negligible amount of money,” he told me. “As a matter of policy,” he wrote in an email, “we don’t comment further on members and reasons for their leaving.”Lester recommended that M. The university gave faculty members serving as principal researchers the option of ending the collaborations. He apologized, saying that the directive came from someone higher up in the administration. had been aware of Saudi Arabia’s “internal repression and external aggression” but that until recently some still believed it was on a path to becoming a more progressive society. According to Forbes, Aramco accounts for roughly 87 percent of Saudi Arabia’s budget. “Knowing these individuals, it is impossible not to see them as separate from the regime they did not choose and cannot control,” he wrote. “He could have decided that we don’t have to be in bed with murderers and a government that imprisons its women activists.