If Seth Lloyd is looking to be told by students when he has done wrong, here it is: by continuing to teach, by continuing to advise undergraduate and graduate students, by continuing to be a part of our scientific community, Seth Lloyd is continuing to do harm. Seth Lloyd should not remain at MIT.
We are writing in response to the opinion piece “Graduate student mental health is in crisis” that appeared in the October 10, 2019 issue of The Tech. Authors Jeff Rosenberg, Sarah Cowles, and Nick Selby, writing on behalf of Graduate Students for a Healthy MIT, advocate for creating “a healthier academic environment for [all graduate students] to grow as scholars and people.” We too are committed to that end and applaud the authors for elevating this crucial matter and providing an opportunity to foster conversation—and, most importantly, action.
MIT Divest, a new movement on campus, is calling on MIT to take leadership in addressing the climate crisis by divesting from fossil fuel companies, detailing in an article two weeks ago why divestment should be the path forward.
Graduate students serve an indispensable role in MIT’s community. We teach and mentor undergraduates, generate new knowledge through our research, secure funding through grant writing, produce journal articles, and foster community. However, despite our passion and dedication, our work at MIT can exact a heavy toll on our physical and mental well-being. This is not how it has to be.
Although students make up around 20 percent of the population of Cambridge, we are woefully underrepresented by Cambridge’s City Council, where eight of nine members are over the age of 50 and do not give student concerns the consideration we deserve. This November, as all of City Council stands for re-election, we have a chance to change that.
The silence on these issues, from many appalled by Epstein, is explained by a white supremacist logic that doesn’t see the university’s routine operation — which is complicit with the misery of the poor and non-white in the name of American empire — as sufficient cause for outrage.
MIT has 137,765 living alumni, but only 33 percent of them donate to MIT. If every alumnus donated $4,370 per year, equivalent to 4.9 percent of the mean starting salary for graduates with an SB degree, MIT would not need to take large contributions from the likes of Epstein, Schwarzman, and Koch.
OpenAg research at Bates that involves water discharge has been suspended, and a thorough assessment is taking place. MIT is committed to working constructively with MassDEP and the town of Middleton.
By divesting from fossil fuels, MIT can send a strong message that extracting and burning fossil fuels is not just normal commerce — it is deeply immoral and unjust, and it is killing people all over the world. Divestment would be not only the right thing to do, but also a highly effective strategy for action on the climate crisis.
Taking Epstein’s money suggested a willingness to turn a blind eye to the impact of his crimes, which included procuring the prostitution of a minor. The fact that this situation was even thinkable at MIT is profoundly disturbing and is symptomatic of broader, more structural problems involving gender and race in MIT’s culture. It is time for fundamental change.
I’m heartbroken that the senior team apparently spent more time discussing concerns about Epstein’s reputation than about MIT’s when they took the drastic step of accepting money from a disqualified donor.
Both MIT Environmental Health and Safety and MIT’s legal department were made aware of the environmental and academic allegations by Dr. Babakinejad. These serious issues were not properly addressed by MIT, and instead, Dr. Babakinejad faced retaliation for raising these concerns.
The current climate and ecological crisis calls for nothing short of rebellion. The least I can do is to take a stand against those stealing my future, our future, and the future of humanity.
We must be concerned with the impression made on our students in condemning one donor for personal crimes and entirely overlooking the destructive transgressions of another, especially when the latter involves disinformation and attacks on science — the very antithesis of MIT’s mission as an educational institution.