Short letter of thanks

There has not been an election in recent history where individual votes have figured so greatly in the choice of the next UA president and vice president. We wanted to thank everyone for casting your ballot in this election, and in effect shaping the future of your student government.

The energy and interest surrounding this election, demonstrated by near-record voter turnout, is a clear sign of renewed desire for a functional, responsive UA that can work to improve student life on campus. As your next UA president and vice president, we will be looking to assemble a team of talented students to achieve the vision you have elected us to deliver.

That said, we also want to take this opportunity to recognize the substantial contributions made by the other two tickets in promoting campus dialogue about the future of the UA. The Tallapragada/Yang team developed a high-visibility campaign that communicated bold hopes for the organization and the campus as a whole. Their message reached students who were thirsty for change and frustrated with the inability of the UA to address many of students’ most pressing needs. Brendan and Mary, likewise, focused on specific areas of student concern and on ways the UA could better communicate with and support the undergraduate community. The determination and hard work demonstrated by all tickets and their supporters should be applauded, especially in the heat of the semester. We look forward to opportunities to work with Naren, Andrew, Brendan, and Mary in the future as we seek to incorporate their goals into those of the UA.

Thanks again for your participation this election season — this letter of thanks is all we have for now as the campus gears up for Campus Preview Weekend. Expect to hear more from us about opportunities for involvement in the days following CPW. We’d love to have you join us in making this campus a better place for students in the year to come.

Jonté Craighead & Michael Walsh are the new president and vice-president of the UA

In defense of the Center of International Studies

I write in response to Ali Talebinejad’s intemperate attack on the Center for International Studies (CIS) and our visiting fellow Abbas Maleki. Talebinejad, in an April 10 guest column, wrote that because Maleki was in the Iranian government at the time of thousands of executions of political opponents of the regime, he shares moral culpability. He lambasts CIS for hosting Maleki, and for good measure decries the work of Jim Walsh, a stalwart of the Security Studies Program at CIS and one of the world’s leading authorities on Iran’s nuclear program.

Apart from issuing paeans to academic freedom, I can only offer a rudimentary lesson: One is not guilty by association, either in law or morals. If Talebinejad’s septic thinking held sway, MIT could never host a member of the U.S. government nor anyone from many other governments and institutions that have committed large-scale crimes.

We choose fellows who offer fresh perspectives on global issues based on experience and thoughtfulness, which Maleki does. We are proud to have him at the Center, just as we are proud of Jim Walsh’s extraordinary work to bring common sense to the nuclear imbroglio.

John Tirman is the executive director of MIT’s Center of International Studies