My name is Mike Short (’05, PhD ’10), and I'm an assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering. I'm one of relatively few to have both lived at Senior House and joined the faculty or staff at MIT, and I'm the faculty member serving on the Academic and Well-Being subcommittee of the Senior House Turnaround Team. I therefore would like to offer a unique perspective on the Senior House Turnaround Team and the recently announced Pilot 2021 program.
Last week, Chancellor Barnhart told The Tech that “MIT students” would be housed in Senior House this Fall, but could make no guarantees beyond this vague statement. Below this article on The Tech homepage was a story about the large decline in senior gift donations this academic year, fueled by student frustrations over a lack of transparency and student input in recent student life decisions at the Institute. With the revelation of this newest closed-door decision, it seems clear that MIT has yet to abandon this trend of limited student engagement that may further exacerbate the course of declining donation rates.
When I visited MIT during CPW, I was confused by the students’ usage of the word “culture,” especially with respect to dorms. To me, a dorm was nothing more than a residence, a space where there were twin size beds your feet would hang off the end of, where you wore slippers in the showers. I especially did not understand places like East Campus and Senior House, where there were murals and dyed hair and loud music blaring in the courtyard. These people all seemed to be trying too hard to be scary and weird (and it worked, I was pretty scared), and I had simply wanted to live somewhere clean and mildly friendly. Whatever this “culture” thing entailed, I did not want to be a part of it. I ended up living in Next for all four years of MIT; I lived there because it seemed clean and mildly friendly.
I appreciate and respect the reporting and perspectives that have been published during this semester in The Tech in response to or in connection with President Trump’s travel and immigration executive orders. However, some crucial facts and opinions have been missing which the MIT community deserves to know about, especially in these current troubled times when security threats have become daily news.
On behalf of MIT Medical and the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE), we are writing to express our disappointment in your front-page story “Health insurance for graduate students with dependents to increase” in the May 11 issue of The Tech. To our knowledge, no one from The Tech took the time to contact our offices for comment or to check facts. The resulting story falsely implied that the MIT administration and MIT Student Health Plan had discriminated against MIT families. This caused concern in the graduate student community.
Career Fair must be managed by an organization motivated by a mission to serve the entire undergraduate population, and not rooted in monetary incentives, so that CF will be better aligned with the professional development needs of MIT undergraduates.
In February, I attended a discussion with Chancellor Barnhart regarding the future of the MIT education. Our guiding questions: What bold experiments in education should MIT pursue? What should a college education entail? I was prompted by the discussion to reflect on the character of the education I have received. Intent on understanding the most fundamental aspects of nature, I came to MIT seeking an education in physics. I will certainly leave knowing much more physics than when I arrived. However, I have received, or more accurately, stumbled into a second education—one that I did not seek because I was not aware I needed it. I now believe this second education, which I will call my “human education,” is significantly more important than my technical one; and moreover, that it has benefited me in a deeper and more serious way. My motive for writing, then, is to clarify what I mean by this human education and to explain why it is particularly needful at MIT. I hope my peculiar experience may help others address the questions Chancellor Barnhart posed.
All candidates have put many hours of work into their platforms and campaigns, and all care deeply about serving their fellow students. However, we believe Melvin and Martin have a combination of breadth of experience and policy vision that makes them the best choice to lead the UA next year.
After reading Grace Chua’s March 16, 2017, Letter to the Editor entitled “The invisible families of MIT,” we realized that many readers may not know that MIT Medical has provided resources to graduate-student families and others through our MIT Spouses and Partners Connect program (MS&PC) for more than 40 years.
In the months since the bubble burst, MIT could have taken a nonpartisan position that attempted to broaden the community’s perspective and to encourage disappointed students to make the best out of the situation. Instead, MIT’s unproductive official response has reconstructed the divisive bubble and alienated many on campus.