Several unlucky individuals have gotten stuck in elevators, some have dealt with peeling paint and murky water, and others still with broken heating. Complaints were filed but not addressed promptly. The front desk was short-staffed. And almost everyone agreed that the rent was too high.
If the UE becomes the sole representative of graduate students in the bargaining unit, we do not know how these matters will be handled in contract negotiations and what an article on international students might look like.
We pledge to not attempt to persuade graduate students how to vote on unionization and to avoid presenting one-sided views for or against unionization.
MIT Chancellor and Vice Chancellor provide important updates on graduate student unionization issues
Ultimately, we do not want to draw any unnecessary lines among MIT’s 7,000 graduate students. However, the unionization process requires us to do that in one way or another.
Surely, MIT can take concrete steps to address these issues we face as international students. Unfortunately, many of their recent policies have done the opposite.
MIT’s administration seeks to exclude over 1,000 graduate workers on fellowship from unionization vote
Decisions about whether to fund graduate workers by RA-ship, TA-ship, or fellowship are often made arbitrarily for reasons of administrative convenience, without any difference in work duties.
MIT is known for solving complex problems. While it’s not nearly as momentous as landing Americans on the moon or developing low-cost emergency ventilators, operating the campus dining program comes with complex challenges and constraints that are seldom visible to meal plan subscribers and dining hall patrons.
Anybody connected with MIT has likely heard of the “Abbot Affair” by now. Dorian Abbot, a geophysicist from the University of Chicago, was invited to give the prestigious John Carlson Lecture, an annual public event of the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. Though it is unrelated to his research or lecture topic, Abbot is an outspoken advocate for “Merit, Fairness, and Equality” (MFE), in opposition to the “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) initiatives that are now the norm on many campuses, including at MIT. Abbot has made many controversial statements in the public square in his defense of MFE. After an uproar both internal to MIT’s campus and on social media about allowing Abbot to speak, the department canceled this year’s Carlson Lecture and invited Abbot to instead give an internal colloquium to the department.
On February 16, MIT Divest filed a legal complaint with the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General to investigate the MIT Corporation’s continued financial investment in the fossil fuel sector. Frustrated with universities’ insufficient action in the face of the climate crisis, our student divestment campaign and similar groups from Princeton, Yale, Stanford, and Vanderbilt each prepared a legal complaint with the assistance of attorneys from the Climate Defense Project. Signatures from prominent professors, community members, climate scientists, elected officials, student organizations, alumni, and national environmental organizations supporting the cause show that there is widespread agreement that investments in fossil fuels are not just immoral and financially irresponsible — they are also illegal.
Before coming to MIT, I served in the U.S. Army as an infantry soldier. Most of my time in service was spent deployed in Eastern Europe, conducting NATO ally reassurance missions and counter-Russian aggression operations after the annexation of Crimea. Since being accepted to the MIT AeroAstro program in 2019, however, MIT has failed to correctly certify my Veterans Affairs (VA) educational benefits. MIT was noncompliant with federal regulations and unresponsive to my calls to action. These educational benefits are guaranteed in the Post-9/11 GI bill, which provides tuition and housing allowances to veterans who honorably served the country. These benefits enable veterans to gain skills that will help them transition to civilian life through educational and economic support. These benefits have allowed me to begin a new career which is useful and exciting. I joined the MIT Student Veterans Association (SVA) to advocate for the improvement of this situation for all MIT veterans.
In our survey, a large majority of respondents indicated the importance of having therapists that share their ethnic background (70%) and are culturally competent (86%). Respondents noted that cultural familiarity increases therapists’ empathy and understanding of sources of mental health issues.
I enjoyed my first nine months in my lab without incident — I got along with my PI and was nearing completion on a body of work that would result in a first-author publication. But one October evening, things changed. My PI sent an email accusing me of breaking equipment that I hadn’t touched in weeks. When I tried to defend myself, she called me “combative” and called my communication style “unprofessional.” She told me that I was a bad lab citizen, even though as lab safety officer I devoted hours every week to managing lab waste and keeping my labmates safe. My PI made several unreasonable demands in the following weeks, including that we work at least 60 hours per week and respond to Slack messages within one hour during the workday, a rule that completely disregards the fact that students have classes and experiments that prohibit swift responses at all times. When I tried to communicate my concerns, I was again accused of “giving pushback” and being disrespectful.
I came to MIT excited for an excellent graduate education in Materials Science and Engineering. After my first few weeks, it became clear to me that much of the work of crafting an education for both graduate and undergraduate students fell to the TAs. They were responsible for attending lectures, drafting problem sets in advance, teaching multiple recitation sessions each week, preparing review sessions, holding office hours, updating and configuring Canvas, drafting exam questions, proctoring exams, and grading problem sets, term papers, and exams. They do all of this while still being expected to conduct world-class research and take on many additional administrative and maintenance tasks.
Every IAP and summer, a little-known date passes that determines whether students will be hit with an $85 fee — the late pre-registration fee.