MIT announced dates and format changes for the two Commencement celebrations taking place this year — a OneMIT ceremony for Class of 2022 graduates and a celebration for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 — in a Dec. 23 email from Chancellor Melissa Nobles.
The email writes that when the semester starts Jan. 31, MIT expects to return to “operations resembling those of the fall semester,” including the return of all classes to in-person learning and of “most employees to the schedules and work arrangements” in place prior to December 2021, when the Omicron variant began its spread in the Boston area.
MIT charged, along with other universities, in federal lawsuit for illegally limiting student financial aid awards
The suit, filed Jan. 9, claims that the defendant universities used a shared methodology to calculate applicants’ financial aid, which resulted in price-fixing and unfairly limited financial aid.
MIT’s positivity rate is lower than the Cambridge 14-day average of 6.37% and the Massachusetts 7-day average of 21.61%, but the rate of positive cases has increased significantly from the fall semester, where the highest 7-day positivity rate was 0.28%.
MIT requires boosters, updates isolation policies and IAP plans in response to rise in positive cases and Omicron variant
In response to a local and global rise in COVID-19 cases and the spread of the Omicron variant, MIT is requiring all eligible community members to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster by Jan. 14 to access MIT buildings. MIT has also updated its isolation and quarantine practices, event policies, and Independent Activities Period (IAP) plans.
The month of November saw the most positive COVID-19 tests at MIT (184 out of 132,743 tests) this semester, compared to 77 (out of 140,111) in October and 118 (out of 142,267) in September.
Schmidt graduated from RPI with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering in 1981 before receiving a master’s and a doctorate from MIT in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) in 1983 and 1988, respectively.
The MIT Alumni Association held two hour-long town halls over Zoom to discuss “Freedom of Expression and Community” Nov. 22, with one at 12 p.m. and one at 8 p.m.
MIT has released a financial summary of the MIT Campaign for a Better World, a fundraising effort calling upon alumni and friends of MIT to make donations to “support the visionary and talented people of MIT in working to meet humanity’s urgent global challenges.”
Hackers constructed and placed 70 barber poles in various locations across campus, including Lobby 7 and even replacing the chimneys on top of Building 68.
Preliminary unofficial results of 2021 Cambridge City Council election released, MIT alumnus elected
The preliminary unofficial results of the Nov. 2 Cambridge City Council election have been announced. A total of 19 candidates ran, and nine were elected to the council.
Previously, the shuttle had 11 stops on its morning route, and the afternoon route did not circle the Sloan School. The shuttle will now run a single 12-stop route all-day.
The resolution states that the city clerk will notify President L. Rafael Reif of the council’s support of MIT Divest and send Reif the resolution.
MIT’s endowment performance, the annual report of the Committee on Discipline (COD), updates from Task Force 2021 and Beyond, and the draft of the Institute values statement were presented at the Oct. 20 faculty meeting.
The committee held a community conversation on the values statement Oct. 20 through a live webcast and released a draft report on the statement. According to the report, the values statement is meant to “build a shared sense of purpose, expectations, and responsibility.”
The total number of criminal offenses reported on campus, in non campus locations, and on public property adjacent to MIT fell from 89 in 2018 to 54 in 2019 and to 17 in 2020
The GSU also currently includes over 250 union representatives, comprising graduate students from department across MIT.
According to an MIT News article, following the move, all of MIT’s Institute-wide writing and communications instruction are now under the same department.
Nobles reported that 98% of the campus community was vaccinated against COVID-19. Additionally, Nobles said that “last week, we administered over 33,834 tests, and our positive rate was 0.08%.”
The museum will occupy the first through third floors of Site 5, which is also home to a café and the new MIT Press Bookstore. The upper 14 floors of the building will be leased out.
A sign in Lobdell Dining reads that the goal of the partnership is to “bring diverse, authentic flavors” to MIT while also “creating powerful opportunities for local BIPOC-owned food businesses.”
Of 1,076 members of the Class of 2024, 175 participated in virtual SYRE for a rate of 16%, and 108 successfully switched residence halls.
Hayes wrote that it is possible that Anna’s may return “at some point in the future,” but MIT will begin discussing “both temporary and permanent alternatives,” including potential non-food service uses, for Anna’s space.
In order to partake in unobserved self-testing, community members must pick up a testing kit and access the MIT Medical section of the Atlas mobile app.
Stuopis said that in order to monitor potential cases, students will be asked to test three times in their first week on campus: upon arrival, on day four, and on day seven.
The building will have “spaces for performance, rehearsal, professional-level recording, research, and instruction, as well as a large-scale, purpose-built performance lab that will enable experimentation with various formats.”
The committee was created in line with a proposal from Task Force 2021 and Beyond. Its main goal is to deliver a “strategic plan to guide policies and programs that would be implemented at MIT.”
Through the transaction, edX’s assets will be transferred to a public benefit company owned by 2U while still maintaining its name, course offerings, partner arrangements, and users. edX will continue to offer its existing free courses and certificates at a fee under 2U.
The group divided into four subgroups beginning in January 2020: benchmarking; focus groups; data collection; and resources, services, and academic experiences.
The UA presidential election and elections for all positions (president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, social chair, and publicity chair) in the four Class Councils were uncontested.
The email writes that the decision to require the vaccine was based on “understanding of the science behind the vaccines, their established safety and efficacy, and their wide availability across the state and country.”
In order to accomplish this, MIT will introduce a new organizational structure in the plan that will “help amplify MIT’s voice, increase involvement across the community, and improve accountability,” Zuber said.
Faculty then voted on the motion to increase the spring credit limit, which passed with 95 votes of yes and 12 votes of no.
Waitz, Schuetz, and Zuber wrote that there will be no change in housing rates while the price of MIT’s Student Extended Insurance Plan will decrease by approximately $180 for the upcoming academic year.
MIT Divest Co-Chair Arnav Patel ’21 and member Jess Cohen ’22 wrote in an email to The Tech that the Council’s decision “brings a lot of momentum to pushing the Institute to divest from the fossil fuel industry.”
MIT estimates that at least 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students will “receive need-based financial support thanks to the” HEERF program.
Some graduate students will be expected to return during the summer by June 1, while most will be expected to return for the fall by September 1.
MIT expects that many COVID-era restrictions will be lifted, but some may remain in place. “We don’t know to what extent, but testing, enhanced cleaning, physical distancing, and mask-wearing could be necessary,” Barnhart said.
First-year applicants applying in fall of 2021 and transfer applicants applying in either fall of 2021 or spring of 2022 will not be required to submit their scores for either test.
The committee will fulfill its charge by submitting recommendations to Schmidt by December 2021. Schmidt is “optimistic” that the committee’s work will “imagine new possibilities for artistic and cultural contributions to racial equity at MIT.”
Task Force 2021 and Beyond enters next phase, begins refining and planning to implement first phase proposals
The second phase of the task force will be carried out via 16 Refinement and Implementation Committees (RICs), which will each develop specific proposals and define implementation plans for the proposals.
The housing preference forms for both rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors are open until April 9.
Faculty discuss climate action, credit limit, and underrepresented minority recruitment at March meeting
The CUP’s provisional recommendations for academic year 2022 are to make the fall credit 54 regular units plus six discovery units, to make the spring credit 60 regular units plus six discovery units, and to permanently end the practice of offering ESS
Nelson and Stuopis wrote that “over 50 students” were involved in the gatherings or were pod mates of those involved in the gatherings.
The rally began with a series of student and dining worker speakers and ended in breakout rooms where students and workers discussed their experiences with racial discrimination or harassment at MIT.
Provost Martin Schmidt PhD ’88, Vice President and General Counsel Mark Divincenzo, Vice President for Research Maria Zuber, Jamison, and Associate Provost for International Engagements Richard Lester provided updates on Professor Gang Chen’s legal case over allegations of federal grant fraud and resources for faculty considering international collaborations.
The MIT Student Worker Alliance has organized a rally for dining workers that will take place on Feb. 22 over Zoom.
The International Students Office wrote that this is in accordance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) 5-Month Temporary Absence Rule, which was suspended for Spring and Summer 2020.
First-year international students are advised to follow the Fall 2020 guidance on registering for in-person coursework determined by the International Students Office (ISO), according to a Feb. 8 email from Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz.
Stuopis and Waitz wrote that Massachusetts’ vaccination phase, as determined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and “how regularly and in what volume” MIT receives doses from the state influence whether individuals can receive vaccinations.
Those who responded that MIT should divest from fossil fuel companies named climate change as the primary reason.
Barnhart also wrote that MIT Medical will mail a pre-departure COVID-19 testing kit to eligible undergraduates in the U.S.
Huttenlocher expressed an intention to incorporate computing into other majors, so that students “don't even have to be in a blended major with Course 6 to learn the parts of computing [they] want to learn and understand the paths through curriculum at MIT to get [them] there.”
Danheiser and Sarma wrote that Reif, “other Institute leadership, faculty governance, and other key stakeholders” will review the ideas and identify a “prioritized subset” of them to implement.
Similar to Fall 2020, all students may choose one subject to be graded PE/NE, and sophomores may designate one subject as Exploratory.
According to an FAQ about the spring semester, housing assignments will be shared with students in “late November.” Students will be able to participate in the residential pod program with up to six pod members.
Danheiser and Canavan added that spring break was removed “to avoid the usual travel away from MIT.” Six break days, consisting of two four-day weekends and two three-day weekends, have been designated instead.
The new procedure, in compliance with federal regulations, requires that formal Title IX complaints be addressed in a live hearing, chaired by outside legal professionals and including cross-examinations of the complainant, respondent, and witnesses.
Gallop described MIT’s plans as “cautious and conservative” and “aligned with guidance” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For all QuestBridge partners but MIT, students are required to attend their match school. The other three schools that had non-binding policies last year — Princeton, Stanford, and Yale — recently changed their policies to be binding.
Fall ASEs and the math diagnostic typically take place on campus during orientation week. Rajagopal wrote that the decision to move the exam dates up was to ensure the start of the semester was “less hectic for students.”
A DHS July 24 broadcast message writes that the March guidance “applies to nonimmigrant students who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020.” ISO interpreted the message and accompanying FAQ in its update for new international students.
Ironside said that the task force’s goal is to develop a “blueprint for a better and stronger” post-COVID-19 MIT “through broad community engagement and thorough analysis.” Reif added that the task force does not “wait for the future to happen to us” but instead hopes to “create the future we want for us.”
Schmill wrote that the decision to waive the testing requirements came after the College Board and ACT announced disruptions to their testing. Additionally, the admissions office considered the potential health consequences of taking the exams during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Burroughs said that the rescission of the guidelines “moots” the temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction motion requested in MIT and Harvard’s lawsuit and will “preclude the enforcement” of the July 6 directive and its FAQ “on a nationwide basis.”
The brief writes that international students have “contributed immeasurably to the advancement of American higher education and to the American economy,” whose “participation has become an integral part of the American educational experience.”
Waitz wrote that since the July 6 ICE directive, “ISO has fielded hundreds of calls and emails from students” with concerns over their visa status, the state of their home country, class participation, financial loss, or “deferral or foregoing their academic programs.”
The statement writes that the Institute’s fall decision does not match the contents of community feedback in charrettes, surveys, and the Team 2020 website, which “left many with a broad sense of what the fall would like.”
In addition, MIT is “adjusting” the aid budget “to meet families’ increased financial needs. Revised financial aid awards will be made available “likely by mid-August,” according to an FAQ on MIT’s COVID-19 site.
There will be a process for non-seniors to “request special consideration for housing” on a case-by-case basis through the Student Housing Assistance Review Process.
Callahan wrote that the deadline for students to select preferences for CI-H and CI-HW subjects will be July 31, and the deadline to complete fall pre-registration will be Aug. 14.
32% of student respondents “strongly” agreed that they would “rather take a semester off than try to do it via remote learning.” An additional 21% of respondents “somewhat” agreed with this statement.
The letter urged Trump to “maintain the OPT program and the STEM OPT extension in their entirety” citing that international students contributed nearly $45 billion and over 450,000 jobs to the U.S. economy during the 2018-19 academic year.
The Archdiocese wrote in its statement that Moloney’s “comments regarding the murder of George Floyd do not reflect the positions of the Archdiocese.” By resigning, Moloney “accepts the hurt” his comments “have caused.”
MIT does not yet know how many undergraduates will be able to return to campus. Reif wrote that this decision “depends on several factors, some beyond our control,” such as the COVID-19 pandemic’s trajectory and government’s response.
“We found historically that some students who received a ‘5’ on the Calculus BC exam did not have a strong grip on the fundamentals — especially of pre-calculus material (algebra, logs, trigs, etc.) — to do as well as we would like in MIT subjects,” Barbara Peskin PhD ’90, academic administrator of the mathematics department, wrote in an email to The Tech.
Participants were given ten minutes to design a fall model with several constraints in mind. The constraints included the uncertainty of the pandemic trajectory and medical advances, measures taken to protect community health, space limitations of campus, most classes being remote, and community members’ willingness and reasons to return to campus.
Reif said that an in-person commencement will be held at MIT at “some safe point in the future.” He also said that digital diplomas have been delivered to students who requested them through the Blockcerts Wallet app.
A complaint filed May 15 on behalf of the UA Council by UA President Danielle Geathers ’22, forwarded to The Tech, prompted the decision. The complaint called JudBoard to cease all activity and finalize its previously incomplete bylaws by May 29.
MIT Medical is “bumping up” its staff to be able to conduct contact tracing — which Stuopis called “the most critical public health offering that we have.”
Reif wrote in the task force opening charge that the task force will draw from “lessons” from the pandemic to help imagine MIT’s future. Some goals that Reif outlined for the Institute were to be safer and more efficient, sustainable, inclusive, equitable, affordable, and financially resilient.
Geer wrote that CAPD is currently “exploring” what the application process for students will look like.
EC President Miana Smith ’21 wrote in an email to EC residents that HRS planned to implement security measures including cameras on external doors, an Allied Universal security desk, and guest lists of non-residents who can check into the security desk. According to Smith’s email, HRS had not previously discussed making these changes with EC’s residents or house team.
New guidelines require MIT community members living in on-campus residential buildings to wear face coverings when entering any common area, including lobbies, hallways, elevators, stairwells, dining areas, laundry rooms, garages or parking lots, and walkways.
Reif wrote that “in a world so disrupted by Covid-19,” it would not be possible to conduct the Institute’s traditional in-person commencement, hooding, and Tech Reunions this May.
BC President Sara Aaronson told The Tech that because BC culture is closely tied to its nine floors, “some are worried about losing physical access to people they’ve built strong ties to and are comfortable with” through the renewal.
The working group’s final report includes findings from the Graduate Enrolled Student Survey showing that the top sources of stress for students with children are related to caring for family, cost of living, and household responsibilities.
The review of clothing-optionality in residence halls was prompted by recent incidents in East Campus.
The report named the root cause of the problems with the department’s existing structure as “the binary characterization of faculty as either EE or CS.”
He aims for a “holistic” view, looking beyond classes and curriculum at “the entire experience when you’re here.”
Supran cited Shell’s donations to MIT and Chevron’s collaboration with Stanford as “the fossil fuel industry’s invisible colonization of academia.”
Incumbents Dennis J. Carlone, Alanna M. Mallon, Marc C. McGovern, E. Denise Simmons, Sumbul Siddiqui, Timothy J. Toomey, Jr., and Quinton Y. Zondervan SM ’95 were re-elected. Patricia M. Nolan and Jivan-Sobrinho-Wheeler were newly elected.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) held a groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 30 to celebrate the start of construction for the new John A. Volpe Transportation Systems Center in Kendall Square. The construction of the new facility is expected to be completed in 2023.
Currently, students participating in UROPs that meet these conditions are required to sign the IPIA, but under the new policy, all students will be required to sign it during the UROP application process.
UA Sustain, MIT’s Office of Sustainability, and MIT Ground Services collaborated to create The Hive, a sustainability garden located on Saxon Lawn near Walker Memorial. The garden is the product of a 2017 survey conducted by UA Sustain. According to the Office of Sustainability, the survey indicated great student interest in a community garden.
The MIT Police Department released its Annual Security and Fire Safety Report Oct. 9. The report includes information about the Police Department’s operations, services, and resources, along with statistics regarding criminal and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) offenses, arrests and disciplinary referrals, hate crimes, and fire safety, from 2016 to 2018.
Duflo, at 46, is the youngest person and the second woman to have ever won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
"I believe that together, we can find a way to transform so much pain for so many people into some enduring good for MIT,” Reif said at the student forum Tuesday.
Hunter: I think the greatest challenge has been getting all the work done while counseling all the students who needed me to talk to them and explain things to them. They’re sort of two pulls: talking to students versus getting all the administrative stuff done.
After the program of scheduled speakers ended, members of the crowd were also invited to speak in an open mic session, and about thirty minutes later, the protest culminated with a march to Reif’s office, where protesters delivered their signs and continued to voice their dissatisfaction with the Institute’s administration.
At most two of the classes, still with film analysis as the primary focus, can be taken in a section outside of literature. These non-literature classes can comprise, but are not limited to, film-related courses in comparative media studies, anthropology, global studies and language, and women’s and gender studies.
Lander wrote that he “briefly met” Epstein at two events in 2012 and did not meet with him again. Lander also wrote that he and the Broad have neither requested nor received any financial support from Epstein or his foundation.