Some Floor Plans Gone; Issue 49 of ‘The Tech’ Was Stolen

This occasional feature will follow up on news stories long past their prime. In this edition: MIT’s removal of floor plans from the Facilities website, and what ever happened to Issue 49 of The Tech?

Six floor plans removed from web

Earlier this year, The Tech noticed that a series of floor plans had been removed from MIT’s listing of floor plans at

In addition to the nuclear reactor, at least six floors do not have plans available on the facilities website: Floor 8 of Buildings 16 and 56, Floor 7 of Building 46, Floor 00 of Building 68, and Floor 6 of Buildings E17 and E18. The plans for those floors have been replaced with PDFs that request users contact the Drawing Information Systems group.

It is not clear exactly when the floor plans were removed, though the “last modified” time returned by the server indicates that the plans may have been pulled as early as Jan. 16, 2007.

It’s also unclear why the floor plans were taken down; The plans may have been removed because of security concerns or Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements.

At least some of the floors are likely to contain highly radioactive Cesium-137 sources that are part of Gammacell Irradiators used in biology research. Documents from MIT’s Environmental Health and Safety Office imply that MIT owns multiple irradiators, and indicate that additional training is required for “radiation workers who will use the Gammacell Irradiators in the Center for Cancer Research, Department of Biology, or the Biological Engineering Division.”

Issue 49 stolen from stands

If you missed the Tuesday, Oct. 21 issue of The Tech, you aren’t alone; Many copies of Issue 49 were stolen from the newsstands, likely because of an article regarding delayed renovations of the W1 dormitory.

The article, “W1 Dorm Project Delayed As Funds Dry Up,” detailed how MIT, weighing its financial liquidity, decided to postpone $90 million renovations on W1. As a result of the delay, some members of the Phoenix Group — approximately 50 undergraduates currently living in Ashdown House (NW35) who were slated to move into W1 and form its first community — will graduate before W1 renovations are finished. Ben Kaduk G, a member of the Ashdown House Executive Committee, was quoted as saying that “if long delays are predicted … [the Phoenix Group] may disband until W1 looks like a more practical option.”

A few days later, many boxes of Issue 49 were found in a lounge in NW35. Phoenix Group graduate resident tutor Leah C. Acker wrote in a e-mail that she was not aware of students in the Phoenix Group stealing copies of The Tech, and referred a reporter to Suzanne Flynn, housemaster of NW35. Flynn did not respond to an e-mail request for comment.

Although it is not clear why the copies of The Tech were stolen, members of the Phoenix Group wrote to each other on the day Issue 49 was published that they were upset with the Tech article’s assertions that the group may dissolve, and were still hoping that the renovations would take place.

In e-mails provided to The Tech, one member wrote to the group: “Frankly, I wouldn’t even mention the words “W1” or “disappointed”. Focus on the good. The administration will certainly repay us for our supportive response.”

Another member wrote that “there is currently a student movement called the “Campaign for Students” … that is very displeased with the administration … If we choose to voice our personal opinions to these groups before we release our collective opinion, what we choose to say can easily be misrepresented as our collective opinion. The administration most likely would not look kindly upon this.”

Housemaster Flynn also wrote to the group, telling them to “please ignore the headline [indicating that the group may dissolve] on p.16 of The Tech … They are quoting one graduate student [Ben Kaduk] who has no insider track on information — trust me. We will survive this and come out a much stronger community as well. Let’s generate our ideas for [Dean for Student Life] Chris Colombo.”

At the Ashdown House Executive Committee, however, the administration did discuss the possibility of the Phoenix Group disbanding.

Flynn later wrote in an e-mail to the group that she would “write to [Dean for Graduate Education] Steve Lerman and find out what was said at the AHEC meeting.”