News Briefs

Leak Cuts Off Water, Internet at Burton-Conner

Sewage problems struck Burton-Conner late Monday evening, Oct. 15, resulting in a temporary water cutoff. According to the Information Services and Technology 3DOWN status page, a resultant drain leak damaged network infrastructure at Burton-Conner, leaving the dormitory without Internet access.

IS&T restored connectivity by 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday after replacing a network switch, associated equipment, and a fiber optic cable.

Theresa M. Regan, director of operations and infrastructure services at IS&T, said that IS&T’s repairs were delayed since they had to wait until the drain problems were resolved.

The blockage was finally cleared by noon on Tuesday after a sewage backup was discovered again on Tuesday morning, said Burton-Conner Housemaster Bronwyn M. Mellquist. The sewage backup was caused after a “T-shirt was presumably flushed down the toilet,” Mellquist said.

—Valery K. Brobbey and Nick Semenkovich

Faculty Debate Institute’s Use of ‘Reckless’

At its monthly meeting this Wednesday, the MIT faculty discussed a resolution that would request the administration limit its public response to situations such as that evoked by Star A. Simpson ’10 last month.

Professor Kenneth R. Manning introduced the resolution, in which “the MIT faculty request that the MIT administration refrain from making public statements that characterize … the behavior and motives of members of the MIT community whose actions are the subject … of pending criminal investigation.” The goal of the resolution was “to foster mutual trust within the MIT community” and to avoid prejudicing the outcome of due process.

Professor Patrick H. Winston ’65, who co-sponsored the resolution, emphasized in his comments that the resolution was not because of “any particular incident, but rather how we see ourselves as a community” and “how we wish to be perceived by the world.”

Undergraduate Association President Martin F. Holmes ’08 also spoke, saying that students “found it troubling that the administration would take sides when there is a pending case … especially true when there are legal ramifications,” and that, in general, students increasingly felt the administration had become less supportive than it was in the past. (MIT released a statement shortly after Simpson’s arrest, characterizing her actions as “reckless.”)

Chancellor Phillip L. Clay PhD ’75 and President Emeritus Paul E. Gray ’54 argued that MIT is expected to have some response to major events, and expressed concern that too rigid a resolution could be detrimental to MIT’s ability to comment in situations where it would be necessary.

Gray added that a single case did not form a “solid basis for making policy,” a view seconded by Professor Sheila E. Widnall, who opposed the resolution.

The resolution was tabled for further discussion at the next faculty meeting; the issues raised may also be discussed in a smaller forum by the Faculty Policy Committee.

—Rosa Cao