In a recent viral video, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology student stirred up a storm during a mathematics lecture, igniting a fiery debate on free speech and what some perceive as a failure of leadership at MIT.
The video, shared by billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman on X, captured the moment a student interrupted a math lesson at MIT to launch an impassioned diatribe against Israel and the United States.
In the footage, the student stood near the professor, who was explaining a math problem. He then asked the professor if he could say something. Astonishingly, the professor allowed the student to disrupt the class with an anti-Israel tirade after asking, “Can I just finish this line?”
Once the math problem was resolved, the professor made way for the pro-Palestinian student, who seized the moment to express his views. “As you witness an ongoing genocide of Gaza in MIT silence – I’m joining hundreds of students city-wide walking out of class. Because we stand for the liberation of Palestine against active genocide that is perpetuated by MIT, Israel, and the United States,” he continued.
The student then unfurled a Palestinian flag and led fellow students in chants of “Free, free Palestine!”
Ackman, who shared the video, raised concerns about the state of learning and free speech at top universities, questioning the leadership at MIT. He also highlighted the challenges faced by students and professors in such an environment.
“Imagine being a student who borrowed $250k to attend MIT or a professor who is trying to do research in this environment,” he stated.
This is a math class this morning at @MIT. This is the state of learning and ‘free speech’ at our top universities. It would not be happening without a failure leadership at MIT.
Imagine being a student who borrowed $250k to attend MIT or a professor who is trying to do… pic.twitter.com/w8C6Y6i3SU
— Bill Ackman (@BillAckman) November 10, 2023
Other X users also expressed their disbelief at how the professor handled the interruption during a math lecture, with cultural critic James Lindsay suggesting not hiring college graduates who were trained in such an environment.
Stop hiring college graduates. Can you imagine hiring people who were "professionally" trained in an environment like this? What a shitshow. Save yourself the trouble. Stop hiring college graduates. https://t.co/I9VK1MDKDi
— James Lindsay, Wokesetta Stone (@ConceptualJames) November 10, 2023
College professor Wilfred Reilly pointed out the stark contrast between the important equation being discussed and the partisan political discourse.
To me, the most striking contrast here is between the teacher clearly outlining an important equation…and the radical student babbling out low-IQ partisan nonsense.
We often hear that the 2nd is more important, but this is facially false. https://t.co/FdWHPgvsro
— Wilfred Reilly (@wil_da_beast630) November 11, 2023
Conservative firebrand Ann Coulter called for a reevaluation of donations to woke colleges and universities, while political scientist Keith Whittington advocated for a zero-tolerance policy for classroom disruptions.
Not saying we should criminalize the donation of money to woke colleges and universities, that would be extreme. But we need a moratorium of several hundred years. https://t.co/f0PFzO73x5
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) November 11, 2023
Law enforcement analyst James A. Gagliano echoed the criticism of the tolerance of disruptive behavior in learning environments and called it an absolute disgrace. In his words: “We’ve allowed adolescent clowns — most who have ZERO concept of history or geopolitics — to hijack learning environments. Instead of removing the disruptive student; and suspending him, the professor has to patiently allow him to be an *activist in class. What an absolute disgrace.”
We’ve allowed adolescent clowns — most who have ZERO concept of history or geopolitics — to hijack learning environments. Instead of removing disruptive “student” and suspending him, the professor has to patiently allow him to be an *activist in class. What an absolute disgrace. https://t.co/ognJ5f9ABg
— James A. Gagliano (@JamesAGagliano) November 10, 2023