News In Review Timeline
Legal recreational marijuana retailers open in Colorado.
President L. Rafael Reif names Cynthia Barnhart PhD ’88 as MIT’s new chancellor. She is the first woman to hold the post, and succeeds Eric Grimson PhD ’80.
President L. Rafael Reif appoints Martin A. Schmidt PhD ’88 as provost. Schmidt had served as acting provost since October 2013, when former Provost Chris Kaiser PhD ’88 stepped down.
The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia
Legislators and scientists celebrate the restoration of $22.2 million of federal funding to the MIT Alcator C-Mod nuclear reactor, which resumed fusion experiments.
Hadi Kasab, a master’s student in MIT’s Computation for Design and Optimization program, is found dead in his room in Sidney-Pacific. His death would be ruled a suicide in June.
Russia formally annexes Crimea amid continued unrest in Ukraine, whose leader had been ousted the previous month.
More than 200 female students go missing in Nigeria. Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist organization, claims responsibility for the kidnapping.
Eliana Hechter, a first-year medical student in Harvard and MIT’s joint Health Sciences and Technology program, dies. Authorities said her death was a suicide.
The Delta Upsilon chapter at MIT is suspended by its international fraternity following an investigation that uncovered “inappropriate behavior during unsanctioned events.”
To mark the first anniversary of the death of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, MIT unveils the designs for a memorial to be built near Stata Center in his memory. Collier was fatally shot there a year earlier in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings.
An “MIT Strong” team runs the 2014 Boston Marathon to show their support for MIT Police Officer Sean Collier and raise money for the Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund.
Amid a rise in the prevalence of nanotechnology, MIT announces plans for MIT.nano, a state-of-the-art nanoscale research center to be built in Building 12’s location.
Nearly 3,500 students graduate without hearing the usual commencement prayer from MIT’s chaplain, who instead gives a “secular, inclusive invocation.” An Institute committee had made the change after an atheist graduate student’s op-ed in The Tech, “God is at your graduation,” spurred discussion on campus.
The MIT Corporation elects Robert B. Millard ’73 as its next chairman, effective October 2014.
The Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, captures Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq.
Kaitlin R. Goldstein, a fourth-year graduate student studying architecture, is found dead in India. Officials believe she died in an accident while on a morning run.
Professor Seth Teller takes his own life at the age of 50. At the time of his death he was a faculty member in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and led the Robotics, Vision, and Sensor Networks group at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
Germany wins the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
MIT’s provost announces plans to replace a parking lot and several buildings on east campus, including the Eastgate graduate residence, with a new MIT Museum building, a new graduate dorm, commercial labs and offices, ground-floor retail stores, and a Kendall Square “gateway” to MIT.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is shot down by a missile in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.
Israel begins a ground offensive in Gaza after weeks of simmering tensions with Palestinians.
The Broad Institute announces a $650 million donation from philanthropist Ted Stanley to fund research on psychiatric disorders and treatments. The gift is one of the largest for scientific research in history.
FSILGs are able to apply for permission to access their roof decks. Roof deck use had been prohibited after an MIT freshman fell four stories through a skylight at Phi Sigma Kappa in September 2013.
Austin Travis, a graduate student studying chemistry, is pronounced dead in his apartment. The cause of his death has not been confirmed as of January 2015.
The U.S. and several Arab countries begin an airstrike campaign in Syria.
Phoebe Wang ’17 is found dead in her MacGregor dorm room. Her cause of death has not been released as of January 2015.
MIT announces that portions of Sidney-Pacific will close for renovations, displacing 370 graduate students. Work to replace the main heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system will begin this summer.
In the first sexual assault survey of its kind and scale among peer institutions, 17 percent of female MIT undergraduate respondents say they have had experiences defined as sexual assault. This rate is on par with the widely cited national average that one in five U.S. undergraduate women have been sexually assaulted, though such statistics are usually measured by random sample.
MIT lifts a 49-person assembly limit on Cambridge and Brookline fraternities. The limit was placed on all FSILGs after a woman was injured in a fall from a window at Lambda Chi Alpha during a rush week party.
Lambda Chi Alpha is placed under a five-year suspension by their national organization. The suspension was authorized after the fraternity failed two alcohol inspections during a temporary suspension period that had been in place after a woman fell from their window during rush week.
Republicans make sweeping gains in Congress and in state governments across the country during the midterm elections.
The MIT Bitcoin Project closes its sign-up form for MIT undergrads to receive $100 in bitcoins. The group hoped that the social experiment would spur innovation.
MIT brings the national anti-sexual assault campaign “It’s On Us” to campus.
MIT’s Elliot Akama-Garren ’15, Anisha Gururaj ’15, and Noam Angrist ’13 are among the 32 newly named Rhodes Scholars worldwide.
A grand jury fails to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, and within hours, “Black Lives Matter” posters appear around campus.
The Tech runs a feature on the details behind the suspension of MIT’s Delta Upsilon in April. An anonymous hazing complaint led MIT and the international fraternity to investigate and find instances of personal servitude, forced sleep deprivation, and underage drinking in the pledge program. Brothers interviewed have few complaints about the pledge program, though, and instead describe injustices they felt occurred in the subsequent investigations.
The MIT football team finishes a historic season at 10-1 two games into the NCAA Division III playoffs. The Engineers went undefeated in the regular season for the first time since 1881, making the front pages of The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal.
Following an investigation, MIT says that former professor Walter Lewin sexually harassed at least one female student online. MIT revokes Lewin’s emeritus title and removes his popular physics lecture videos from edX and OpenCourseWare. He had previously garnered devoted fans around the world for his lecture style.
A contrite Professor Jonathan Gruber ’8
The U.S. and Cuba move to restore diplomatic relations after more than half a century of hostility.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears in court for his final pretrial hearing almost two years after he allegedly carried out the Boston Marathon bombings with his now-deceased brother, leaving three dead and over 250 injured. In a rare death penalty trial for Massachusetts, Tsarnaev is being prosecuted for 30 federal crimes. The trial is slated to begin in 2015. The judge has denied the defense’s requests to move the trial to a place less affected by the bombings.
Jan. 8, 2015
MIT announces it has received a $118 million donation from Samuel Tak Lee ’62 to promote real estate entrepreneurship. The Hong Kong tycoon’s gift is one of the largest in MIT’s history.
MIT’s request to demolish Bexley Hall is approved by the Cambridge Historical Commission after clearing the MIT Corporation. Pending approval from the city of Cambridge, the dormitory’s demolition is scheduled to take place after this year’s Commencement. A temporary park space is to be built in Bexley’s place, and options to replace the lost housing are still being reviewed.
The Supreme Court agrees to decide whether states must allow same-sex marriages. A ruling is expected in June or earlier. The move came after decisions in lower courts had brought the number of states in which gay marriage is legal up to 36.