2009 marked a continued push for greater transparency and student involvement in the dining reform process. Proposals maintained a delicate balancing act between the need to address student concerns and to slash the rising deficits of the dining system.
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 MIT Police found one of its officers, Joseph D’Amelio, arrested for drug trafficking in mid-March. The eventual fallout led to his dismissal, and, separately, the dismissal of one MIT police officer and the suspension of another for recycling 400 issues of <i>The Tech</i>. D’Amelio’s trial began on January 11, 2010 and is ongoing.
This past year, MIT saw sweeping budget cuts in response to the national economic crisis. One-fourth of the General Institute Budget is funded by MIT’s endowment, which saw a 20.7 percent decline in value during FY2009 from slightly over $10 billion to $8 billion. The original proposal to avoid a major Institute deficit was to reduce expenses by up to $150 million over two to three years, but this plan was changed to up to $130 million over the next two fiscal years. Through immediate cuts, such as DAPER’s cut of eight varsity sports and the closing of two libraries, the FY2010 budget was reduced by $58 million on a goal of $50 million.
Throughout 2009, MIT made national headlines in its usual fashion. While members of the MIT community received prestigious awards and pioneered groundbreaking research, this past year ranged from the highs of White House collaboration to the lows of an epidemic and poor economy.
As spring semester begins, take a moment to reflect on everything that has happened at MIT and in the world over the past year. In the pages of this Year in Review issue, you’ll find an overview of what made news at the Institute. We highlight some of the year’s best editorials and opinion submissions. Remember last year’s movies? We’ve summarized them with haiku.
In 2008, Burton Third hung a silhouette of a bomber plane, bearing the letters “DTYD”, in Lobby 7 as a way of advertising their annual party. In 2009, they took it a step further. Early on April 24, a giant concrete structure, shaped to look like a bomb, appeared on the lawn of Kresge. What was meant as a simple advertisement for an annual event spun out of control, leading to investigation by the Cambridge Bomb squad.
Both on campus and around the world, the struggling global economy was the defining feature of 2009. On campus, students and administrators worked to find solutions to the Institute’s budget crisis, sometimes offering different visions of what a leaner MIT should look like. Nationally and globally, the economic downturn that began in 2008 continued to have a major impact on policymaking for the newly-inaugurated President of the United States as well as newly-powerful international bodies like the G20.
For the GOP, it really wasn’t that bad of an election, considering the circumstances. Amid corruption, scandal, and mismanagement of affairs both at home and abroad, Republicans still managed to pull in 45.7% of the popular vote. That they did so is a testament to the enduring conservatism of America’s electoral landscape.
The leak of a draft consultants’ report to the Blue Ribbon Committee on Dining clearly sparked some strong feelings on campus over the past week. One of the ways in which this concern manifested itself was in the form of a well-attended and fairly conspicuous protest rally in Lobby 7 last Tuesday.
Beyond the devious few who scheme that: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” not many people went into 2009 optimistically. The year’s inception saw a stricken financial sector, falling GDP, rising unemployment, and a neophyte leading the crazy train to Washington to spend his first year broadly increasing entitlements instead of going line by line through the budget.
<b>Animal Collective</b> <i>Merriweather Post Pavilion</i> — Dropped in January, fans everywhere were calling <i>MPP</i> the “album of the year” as early as March. Despite the band losing its lead guitarist in 2008, <i>MPP</i> is structured similarly to previous Animal Collective albums only more so, displaying beautiful, elaborate-yet-repetitive melodies that enable listeners to either sit quietly and listen, or crank the volume and dance. This album provided two of my “most played” songs of 2009, including “Summertime Clothes” and “Brothersport.” <i>—MLF</i>
The year 2009 was one of recuperation and recovery. The country was climbing its way out of economic recession but the crawl was slow and unsteady. The year was marked by several momentous events that showed promise of a brighter 2010 — the inaugaration of Barack Obama, the Dow closing above 10,000 points in October, and finally the markets closing on a good note in December. The S&P500 was up by 24.71 percent for the year and a 2.2 percent GDP growth in the third quarter. Despite all these signs of recovery, 2009’s entertainment scene was split between escaping reality and making the best of it.
Only four years prior to his election as President of the United States in 2008, Barack Obama was a lowly state senator from Illinois. But stand back, Mr. President, because that’s nothing. From 2006 to 2008, American country-pop singer/songwriter/actress Taylor Swift catapulted from local-country gigs in Nashville to fielding two top-selling albums, <i>Taylor Swift</i> in ’06 and <i>Fearless</i> in ’08. Riding on their intense popularity, <i>Fearless</i>’s “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me” were made into music videos, both ranking among the most successful of 2009 (yes, Kanye, even better than Beyoncé’s). Also last year, Swift fell into and out of love with Taylor Lautner, star of Twilight’s <i>New Moon</i>. But the Swift engine shows no signs of slowing down — her recent single, “Today Was a Fairytale,” topped the iTunes chart the day after release and Taylor’s silver-screen debut in <i>Valentine’s Day</i> is slated for February 12, 2010.
Men’s Basketball Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Women’s Fencing Field Hockey Women’s Soccer Men’s Tennis Men’s Swimming and Diving Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Women’s Rugby
MIT Athletics had an outstanding year in 2009. Several teams ended their years nationally ranked, and many others earned NEWMAC Championships and went on to compete for national championships. Here’s a look at some of the notable results of MIT’s teams from the past year. (For a complete list of varsity results, see the Year in Review Scoreboard on the right.)<b></b>
Baseball Spring ’09 Record: 25-14 (7-5 NEWMAC) 3rd NEWMAC, Reached NEWMAC Tournament Final Men’s Basketball ’08–’09 Record: 21-9 (8-4 Women’s SoccNEWMAC) 2nd NEWMAC, NEWMAC Tournament Champion, Reached NCAA Tournament 2nd Round Women’s Basketball ’08–’09 Record: 4-19 (0-13 NEWMAC) 10th NEWMAC Men’s Heavyweight Crew Fall ’09 33rd Head of the Charles, Championship Eights Men’s Lightweight Crew Fall ’09 17th Head of the Charles, Lightweight Eights Women’s Lightweight Crew Fall ’09 12th Head of the Charles, Lightweight Eights Women’s Ovenweight Crew Fall ’09 23rd, Head of the Charles, Championship Eights Men’s Cross Country Fall ’09 NEWMAC Champion, 6th New England Regionals Women’s Cross Country Fall ’09 NEWMAC Champion, New England Regionals Champion, 6th NCAA Championships Men’s Fencing ’08–’09 2nd New England Championship, 10th IFA Championships Women’s Fencing ’08–’09 New England Champions Field Hockey Fall ’09 Record: 18-5 (5-3 NEWMAC) 2nd NEWMAC, NEWMAC Tournament Champion, Reached NCAA Tournament 2nd Round Football Fall ’09 Record: 1-8 (1-6 NEFC) 7th NEFC, Reached Pilgrim Tournament Semifinals Men’s Lacrosse Spring ’09 Record: 7-7 (4-3 PLL) Reached PLL Tournament Semifinals Women’s Lacrosse Spring ’09 Record: 13-5 (4-2 NEWMAC) 3rd NEWMAC, Reached NEWMAC Semifinals Rifle ’08–’09 2nd MAC Championship, Expert Division Sailing ’08–’09 10th New England Championships Men’s Soccer Fall ’09 Record: 8-9 (2-4 NEWMAC) 5th NEWMAC, Reached NEWMAC Semifinals Women’s Soccer Fall ’09 Record: 12-6-2 (5-2-2 NEWMAC) 3rd NEWMAC, NEWMAC Tournament Champion, Reached NCAA Tournament 1st Round Softball Spring ’09 Record: 6-21 (3-13 NEWMAC) 9th NEWMAC Men’s Tennis ’08–’09 Record: 16-3 (5-0 NEWMAC) 1st NEWMAC, NEWMAC Tournament Champion, Reached NCAA Tournament 1st Round Women’s Tennis ’08–’09 Record: 4-6 (3-4 NEWMAC) 5th NEWMAC, Reached NEWMAC Semifinals Men’s Swim and Dive ’08–’09 NEWMAC Champion, 9th NCAA Championships Women’s Swim and Dive ’08–’09 2nd NEWMAC Tournament Men’s Track and Field Fall ’09 NEWMAC Champion, 2nd New England Regionals, 29th NCAA Championships Women’s Track and Field Fall ’09 NEWMAC Champion, New England Regionals Champion, 10th NCAA Championships Men’s Volleyball Fall ’09 Record: 25-11 1st NECVA New England Div. Women’s Volleyball Fall ’09 Record: 27-8 (9-0 NEWMAC) 1st NEWMAC, Reached NEWMAC Semifinals Water Polo Fall ’09 Record: 9-16 (3-3 CWPA) 7th Eastern Championships NEEWMAC: New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference IFA: Intercollegiate Fencing Association NEFC: New England Football Conference PLL: Pilgrim Lacrosse League MAC: Mid-Atlantic Rifle Conference NECVA: Northeast Collegiate Volleyball Association CWPA: Collegiate Water Polo Association