MIT forces Jewish grad students to pay for union's anti-Israel activism: federal complaints

Graduate Student Union flouts 36-year-old Supreme Court ruling on "political and non-representational agenda and expenditures," says legal group that won the case, now representing students.

Published: May 4, 2024 10:57pm

Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Sally Kornbluth has thus far survived the purge of Ivy League presidents in the wake of their widely criticized testimony before Congress that calls for genocide against Jews don't inherently violate campus codes.

However, MIT itself may have a problem with multiple federal agencies for its response to campus activism against Israel,

Though it's no longer on the Department of Education's list of open investigations for Title VI "shared ancestry" violations following MIT's addition in December, shortly after Kornbluth's testimony, MIT could still face National Labor Relations Board and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigations.

Its Graduate Student Union is breaking the law by refusing to stop using dues from grad students to pay for its anti-Israel activism upon their opt-out, according to an NLRB complaint by the National Right to Work Foundation filed on behalf of a civil engineering graduate student.

The union is "flouting layers upon layers of federal law to compel students to fund their radical political agenda,” NRWF President Mark Mix said. The complaint names MIT itself "for its role in enforcing the union scheme and continuing to collect dues."

NRWF is also representing several Jewish grad students in an EEOC complaint against GSU and United Electrical Workers (UE) for rejecting their religious accommodation requests to opt out of dues supporting "anti-Semitic advocacy" such as the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

UE settled an earlier NLRB complaint brought by one of those students, MIT Graduate Hillel President Will Sussman, by agreeing to notify grad students of their rights under a Supreme Court ruling known as Beck, which NRWF won 36 years ago, via email and posting a notice for 60 days.

"GSU officials appear to be violating the spirit if not the letter of that settlement," NRWF said in announcing the new NLRB complaint on behalf of Katerina Boukin, the civil engineering student.

MIT is also under investigation by the House Education and the Workforce Committee for its response to antisemitism, and two Jewish students sued the school for tolerating threats against them since the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas terrorist attack on Israeli civilians.

Its D.C. director worked with the White House over several months to remove from legislation heightened federal scrutiny of high-dollar foreign donations to universities, including from countries that seek Israel's eradication or marginalization, a public records production shows.

Boukin accused GSU of forcing her to pay for its "opposition to Israel and promotion of Leninist-Marxist global revolution," which she finds "deeply offensive."

She and other students resigned their memberships in response to the union's "political and non-representational agenda and expenditures" and revoked their dues "checkoff" authorizations, as allowed by the Beck ruling.

The union refused to honor their Beck rights, including by "immediately reduc[ing]" collected dues and fees from their paychecks, stopping the checkoff and granting nonmembers "an independent audit explaining the union’s expenses and reduced fee calculation," the complaint says.

An official claimed they had to wait until the next "window period" to exercise their rights in November, which NRWF said the UE had also done.

Neither MIT nor GSU responded to Just the News queries.

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