2021 Class Council petitions for access to campus for all seniors

The 2021 Class Council petitioned MIT administrators to ensure that all incoming seniors are “guaranteed physical access to campus for the entirety of the upcoming academic year” in an open letter published in The Tech June 28.

The petition writes that many seniors need access to campus in order to conduct hands-on research and fulfill graduation requirements, including lab courses, capstone projects, and thesis projects. A return to campus will also help seniors “develop relationships with faculty” and gain letters of recommendation, which are “integral to the advancement” of students’ careers and a “focal point of the graduate school admissions process and fellowship applications.”

The petition writes that seniors applying for jobs, graduate school, and fellowships would need “immediate access” to MIT advising and support. It adds that “it is in MIT’s best interest to ensure that the Senior Class will be supported to the best of its capability,” as seniors’ professional success “is correlated with MIT’s prestige.”

“The challenges posed by the current economic reality negatively impact seniors, even before graduation,” the petition writes. “The inequity that would be faced by students during a virtual senior year would leave many seniors severely disadvantaged.”

The petition adds that senior year is “the final opportunity for students to find closure in the relationships they’ve built throughout their time at MIT” and “an important time to foster class unity.” 

“Sending us off into the world without this closure and these memories would be devastating for our class and could have lasting implications for our alumni relations,” the petition writes. 

However, the petition notes that “the Class of 2021’s invite should not impede invitations extended to students who need to return,” such as “students living in home environments not conducive to learning.” 

The petition has been endorsed by the UA Committee on COVID-19. As of press time, 349 incoming seniors, 41 incoming juniors, 36 incoming sophomores, seven graduate students, and 17 alumni have signed the petition.

The 2021 Class Council emailed an initial draft of the petition to incoming seniors June 20 and invited students to give feedback through a Google form or a June 21 Zoom meeting. The final draft of the petition was sent to incoming seniors June 24.