James Sherley wants us to believe that MIT is racist, and that it is because of this institutional racism that he was denied tenure. Unfortunately, his numerous lengthy public statements have supplied no evidence to support his claims. Mr. Sherley's supporters (including at least two whose letters appeared in Tuesday's <i>Tech</i>) support his claims of racism, but to date, none of them have come forward with any corroborating evidence either.
As we reflect on last week's tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., we should recall the words of Gunnar Jahn, who presented him with the Nobel Prize in 1964: "It was not because he led a racial minority in [its] struggle for equality that Martin Luther King achieved fame. Many others have done the same, and their names have been forgotten." Chief among these other catalysts for change was the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a group that offers us great insight into our own capacity as agents of change. Were it not for the SNCC's sustained efforts, "I Have a Dream" would have been little more than poetry on paper.
In early September, nearly a year after universities such as Harvard and Stanford divested from Sudan in response to the ongoing genocide in Darfur, President Hockfield convened the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility to begin discussing MIT's potential divestment. In response, student movements began both supporting and opposing divestment. Petitions were drafted for each side, with 499 supporting divestment and 94 against it. The divestment issue was hotly debated at both the UA and GSC meetings, resulting in the passage of a resolution by both groups supporting institute wide targeted-divestment by December 31, 2006. A coalition of student groups collaborated to organize a lecture by internationally renowned Sudan expert, Professor Eric Reeves, to help raise awareness in prelude to a divestment decision by the ACSR. Letters both in support and against divestment appeared in <i>The Tech</i>, as well as several front page articles discussing the divestment movement and the overwhelming response by the MIT community.
MIT offers great flexibility with its dining plan. Many other schools around the country force students to buy into a dining plan that could feed a family of four for six months. Whatever money the student does not spend on food is lost. At MIT, we instead boast a “pay as you go system” that gives students more dining options.
The headline of a <i>New York Times</i> article in the World & Nation section of the Tuesday, Feb. 9 issue mistakenly credited only the California Institute of Technology with the design of the International Linear Collider. The particle accelerator was designed by a group of international physicists.
I am distressed by MIT’s refusal to honor Professor Sherley’s request for a review of his tenure case and an inquiry into the mishandling of the case. The provost, chancellor, and members of the Biological Engineering Division state that the decision to deny Professor Sherley tenure was a fair one. Professor Chomsky and his colleagues, in a letter to<i> The Tech</i>, summarize compelling arguments contrary to that conclusion.
The Tuesday, Feb. 6 article “Quickly Constructed Robots Vie For Title; Design, Dress Award” misstated the number of teams and participants in the Mobile Autonomous System Laboratory competition. There were 16 teams and 55 participants, not 17 teams and 57 participants. Also, all of the robots used cameras, although the sentence “One of robots, Team Thirteen’s “Mr. Whiskers,” was instead programmed to get a sense for and give a visual representation of the playing field using its camera and other equipment, including a gyroscope, and other optical encoders.” may have given the impression that only one robot used a camera.
As a graduate school-bound college senior, I’m being reminded of some of the fresh new hells I experienced as a college-bound high school senior. In particular, choosing a dormitory is one of the scariest and most important decisions one can make. Experiencing a system less open and welcoming than MIT’s makes me appreciate ours all the more.
The Dunkin’ Donuts near my home in Plano, Texas is open 24 hours a day. My good friend tells me that his Dunkin’ in New Jersey is open until 4 a.m. every night. Now, how late is Dunkin’ open at MIT, a school with one of the most nocturnal demographics on the planet? Last time I checked, we couldn’t get donuts after 10 p.m.! The folks in Jersey or suburban Texas are definitely not flocking to Dunkin’ in the wee hours of the morning. So, why are tireless MIT students who find themselves tooling late into the night on campus left with little more than stale LaVerde’s coffee and cases of Red Bull to tie them over until morning? Don’t they deserve donuts, too? I say, legitimize our Dunkin’ Donuts — upgrade us to full time service! Heck, it might even be profitable.
Two years ago, in January 2005, Professor James L. Sherley, the only African-American faculty member ever appointed in the Division of Biological Engineering (BE), filed a letter of complaint about the division-level evaluation that resulted in the denial of his tenure in BE. Prof. Sherley’s complaints include charges of conflict of interest and racial discrimination. Provost L. Rafael Reif has now decided that, given the findings of the grievance review committee, Sherley’s tenure denial should stand.