Opinion letter to the editor

In defense of President Reif

To the editors,

As a parent of an MIT alum, I have had more than six years to watch the Institute navigate the roiling waters of our current national politics. From that point of view, I wish to say that attempting to force the resignation of President Reif over the donations of Jeffrey Epstein would be a gross miscarriage of justice. Epstein is the bottom of the scum bucket, there can be no question about it. But evidence that Reif possessed anything more than the most precursory information about the nature of the Epstein donations to the Media Lab is insufficient to the level of proof necessary to end his tenure. 

But more importantly, President Reif’s positions on so many other decisions directly affecting students have demonstrated a degree of integrity and political courage that I have found both encouraging and increasingly rare among our leaders today, political and otherwise. Epstein is gone, and much of the leadership of the Media Lab that had responsibility for the Epstein dealings have been dealt similarly appropriate consequences. But, if Reif goes, those seeking vindication will have won what can only end up being a pyrrhic victory for the future of all of those associated with MIT. 

Joan Pence