Opinion letter to the editor

The Senior House decision: Chancellor Barnhart responds

In the two weeks since we shared with Senior House students our plan for next year, I have received many messages from the MIT community, and stayed in regular contact with student leaders from Senior House, Dormcon, and the UA. I am listening, as I have tried to do throughout this entire process. And I am grateful to everyone for keeping the lines of communication open.

I’m writing because many of the concerns people are bringing to me are based on inaccurate information and a misunderstanding of what brought us to this point. What I find most troubling are the accusations that this is somehow intended as an attack on vulnerable populations or on students’ ability to self-govern. This decision is about one thing: providing every MIT student with a safe environment.

I want to be clear about a few more things:

At this point, my focus is to make sure current Senior House students move with their friends to new communities and have the support they need. We have set up a relocation team to offer personalized assistance, and we are working with all undergraduate heads of house on the moves. MIT is fortunate to have residence halls that are welcoming to all students from all backgrounds. I am confident that we will find Senior House students new communities where they can feel at home.

Cynthia Barnhart SM ’85, PhD ’88

Chancellor, MIT