Applause erupted in the standing-room-only 6-120 yesterday at 3:58 p.m. as Zachary A. Weiner, creator of popular webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (SMBC), entered the room for a Q&A session packed with questions touching on topics from fellow web comic artists to the merits of Star Wars vs. Star Trek (for the record, Weiner prefers Star Wars). The free event, sponsored by the MIT Lecture Series Committee, concluded with a signing session of the new SMBC compilation, Save Yourself, Mammal!: A Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal Collection, and went an hour over its anticipated 4–6 p.m. runtime.
After a week of deliberation, the Undergraduate Association Ad-Hoc Committee on Restructuring presented several changes to bill 42 UAS 14.2, UA President Vrajesh Y. Modi ’11’s proposed overhaul of the UA governing structure. The most significant change is the expansion of the proposed Council of Representatives — which would replace the UA Senate should 14.2 be approved — from 16 to 20 members, adding three additional representatives from the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and one additional representative from the Panhellenic Association (Panhel). According to Committee Chair Timothy R. Jenks ’13, current senator of fraternities, the additional members were added in response to Committee concerns of underrepresentation of affiliated Greek students on the Council.
Dozens of undergraduates comprised a passionate audience at yesterday evening’s emergency UA meeting, called in response to the proposed shortening of Orientation by the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming. Elizabeth C. Young and Julie B. Norman, associate dean and director, respectively, of the UAAP, discussed the planned changes to Orientation, including the re-scheduling of Advanced Standing Exams (ASEs) and the extension of Freshman Pre-Orientation Programs (FPOPs), but most discussion centered around the proposed reduction of Residence Exploration (REX) from three days to one.
Where are MIT’s Campus Republicans and Campus Democrats? Two well-known groups are missing from MIT’s tremendous array of campus organizations, political or otherwise — College Democrats and College Republicans. Both organizations founded chapters in the late 1990s, but in only a little over a decade later, both are defunct. The website for MIT College Democrats carries a copyright of 2004, and the listed co-presidents of the club graduated in 2007. MIT College Republicans’ website has suffered a similar fate, last updated in February 2003.
Under a new pilot system between the MIT Libraries and the Harvard College Library (HCL), MIT undergraduates may now borrow from select Harvard libraries. Undergraduates were able to begin signing up for HCL Special Borrower cards yesterday. The cards grant access to several of Harvard’s 70-plus libraries.
The software architecture behind Stellar, MIT’s course management system, is likely to change within the next year, while user interface will mostly stay the same. Pilot changes to the system may be implemented over the summer, said Eric Klopfer, Chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee on Learning Management Systems, which is tasked with developing the next version of Stellar, called Stellar Next Generation.
Who ever said that engineers can’t communicate? MIT Debate Team members and Course VI majors Adam Goldstein ’10 and Bill Magnuson ’09 took top honors at the North American Debating Championships — regarded as the most prestigious debate tournament in North America — held January 29-31 at York University in Toronto, Ontario, by finishing ahead of 79 other two-person teams from around the continent. Goldstein also earned honors as an individual performer in the preliminary rounds of the tournament, ranking as the top United States speaker and fourth overall speaker for his performance.
MIT’s chapter of Alpha Tau Omega had a trying year in 2009. After losing its housing license in summer 2008, the fraternity was granted a housing license for six occupants in June by the Cambridge Licensing Commission (CLC), only to be expelled from the Interfraternity Council (IFC) — and from MIT — in September. An incident in May 2009 involving “underage consumption” and a “failure to provide emergency medical assistance” was the incident responsible for the expulsion, according to minutes of a September 2 IFC meeting.
The fate of the MIT post office will likely be determined next month, according to the United States Postal Service (USPS). The office, slated for closure along with eight other Boston-area university post offices, has been on the chopping block since a July 30 USPS announcement. If the MIT branch is closed, its users will have sixty days to adjust their operations and redirect mail to the Kendall Square post office before the MIT branch shuts its doors.
Members of the Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) fraternity can soon come home. Yesterday afternoon, the Cambridge License Commission unanimously approved them for a long-sought housing license.
Members of the ATO fraternity will not be allowed to move back into their house yet, the Cambridge License Commission decided at a hearing on Tuesday. The commission voted to take the matter “under advisement,” and will reconsider granting a housing license at a meeting in June.
The Alpha Tau Omega fraternity may regain the housing license to its house on Memorial Drive, depending on the results of tonight’s Cambridge License Commission meeting.
At last night’s Undergraduate Association meeting, Provost L. Rafael Reif talked about MIT’s relative financial stability and said that he will not “micromanage” budget cuts.
The MIT pistol team captured third place overall at this year’s NRA Collegiate Pistol Championships, placing behind first place United States Military Academy (West Point) and second place United States Naval Academy. Two team members, Michelle C. Ma ’10 and Fuzhou Hu ’09, also took spots on 2009 Collegiate All-American teams. The national championships were held March 16-20 at Fort Benning, Georgia.
This year, 128 freshmen accepted early sophomore status out of the 1051 students in the Class of 2012. 181 qualified for early sophomore standing. The percentage of freshmen offered sophomore standing this year is consistent with the percentages of recent years.
The Alpha Tau Omega house, damaged last summer from a pipe leak, has completed repairs and is undergoing inspections. ATO plans to move into the house in late March to early April, pending housing approval by the Cambridge Licensing Commission.
Sorority recruitment wrapped up Wednesday night, bringing in approximately forty fewer members than last year. Recruitment this year was marked by the presence of the new sorority, Pi Beta Phi, and keeping the move from fall to spring recruitment that began last year.
A Middlesex Superior Court Judge has dismissed the case against the One Laptop Per Child Foundation by Nigerian company Lagos Analysis Corporation (Lancor). Lancor claimed that the OLPC Foundation’s XO laptop copied the design of Lancor’s patented Konyin multi-lingual keyboards. The suit asked for $20 million in damages.
The ‘admissions blogs,’ weblogs sponsored by the MIT admissions office, have seen at least two entries removed within the past year. The first, relating to last spring’s Ring Committee flame war, was removed following requests from Admissions. The other, drawing criticism for what was deemed inappropriate content, was removed by the blogger. The student blogs are generally student-run and do not usually have content removed after it is initially posted.
Two years after a recommendation by the Task Force on the Undergraduate Educational Commons, MIT is transitioning from double degrees to the double major program which eliminates the need for 90 additional units for the second degree program in an effort to make the study of two fields less constraining for students.