The Sept. 20’s issue of The Tech featured a front-page article suggesting that participation fees for organizations to recruit at MIT’s Fall Career Fair contributed to a lack of balanced recruiter representation and that fees were unreasonably high when compared to peer institutions. While participation fees at the Career Fair are higher than peers, the article failed to investigate how the Career Fair differs significantly from our peers and is uniquely modeled to add value in supporting student life at MIT. Furthermore the article did not properly recognize that all campus-wide recruiting initiatives — including those of the GECD-Career Services and at other schools across the country — also see extensive Course 6 recruitment and face similar challenges attracting balanced representation.
The recent postering campaign, prominent in the building where the Concourse program is located and highlighted in a front-page Tech photograph last week, is deeply troubling. This campaign, which targets those who removed murals and graffiti at Burton-Conner which were inconsistent with the Title IX prohibition against sexually harassing environments, is fueled by a knee-jerk outrage that fails to understand how problematic the murals and graffiti were under Title IX. The effect has been to undermine the free speech the campaign purports to honor by fostering an environment in which open discussion of the grounds for covering over the mural is inhibited.
I write in my capacity as the Housemaster of Burton-Conner to respond to the campaign of retaliation that began on Sunday night Sept. 22 and was continued by your publication in The Tech on Friday, Sept. 27 of a poster indicating that Burton-Conner was “subject to legalese and scare tactics” because “Students [were] attempting to communicate.” This poster and related ones were posted throughout Burton-Conner and in buildings across campus on or about Sept. 22/23, by a group that identified itself as “Concerned Connerside,” but reportedly involved students from many parts of campus. “Legalese and scare tactics” must refer to my raising a Title IX concern, since that was the only rationale given, and repeatedly, by MIT for removing certain murals and graffiti from the walls of Burton-Conner.
Approximately 100 billion pounds of food are thrown out every year, accounting for 30 to 40 percent of the available food supply. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that food accounts for 21 percent of the waste sent to landfills and incinerators, the largest percentage for any single material in the waste stream.
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.
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.
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.
As the presidents of MIT’s three undergraduate LGBTQ organizations, we feel compelled to advocate against the dispersion of one of MIT’s largest LGBTQ communities and the destruction of one of its vibrant queer-affirming spaces that has existed for decades in Senior House.
Since her appointment as Chancellor in February 2014, Cynthia Barnhart, PhD ’88 has overseen a variety of changes for student life on campus. Recent actions regarding Senior Haus have proven unpopular with some of the student body. However, Chancellor Barnhart has taken, at her own risk, unprecedented steps towards including students in the decision-making process at MIT over the past three years.
The MIT Administration has announced its inauguration of an experiment on human subjects called "Pilot 2021." They have not yet published the hypothesis they are attempting to test with this experiment. I offer my own hypothesis in the sincere hope that it will be disproved:
The chancellor responds to ‘inaccurate information’ regarding Senior House and Pilot 2021. ‘This decision is about one thing: providing every MIT student with a safe environment.’
We agree that it is appropriate to remove from Senior House anyone who has violated an MIT rule or actively, repeatedly, and affirmatively encouraged rule-breaking behavior. However, it would be entirely inappropriate to prevent any of the rest of us — the overwhelming majority of Senior House residents — from returning home.
Given the high level of interest in facts surrounding the Senior House decision, I thought it might help to lay out the milestone events of the last year and share my thinking.
MIT IS&T has been injecting Google Analytics code into HTML pages being served from MIT’s Athena lockers
Since April, IS&T has been injecting Google Analytics code into HTML pages being served from our Athena lockers.
I spoke to Senior House residents, who were explicitly informed by Chancellor Barnhart that the HMS survey was the data source used to justify the actions taken against the house.
Thousands of hours of student time were lost preparing for, attending, and following up on meetings that were part of the official Turnaround, Probation, and Readmission processes for Senior House, all of which failed. These failures can be attributed to poor leadership: The Turnaround process lacked clear goals, objectives, and evaluation criteria. The Probation process lacked clear goals, objectives, and evaluation criteria. The Readmission process had the vague goal of creating "a new community", but no clear evaluation criteria.For MIT's top administrators (President, Vice-President, Provost, & Chancellor) to put students through such clearly flawed but time-consuming processes was, at best, amateurish. Due to the gross imbalance of power, students felt compelled to devote considerable time to try to save their community by participating in the administration's ill-defined Turnaround, Probation, and Readmission processes, each of which, lacking clear goals, objectives, or criteria, was doomed to fail.The natural reluctance of affected students to raise this issue with the very academic officers who still wield immense power over them may be exacerbated by the fact that each of the three processes was initiated and terminated unilaterally by the administration, without student input or consultation, accompanied by statements blaming the entire Senior House community. In a rare public account, an MIT Admissions blogger reports having "...spent late nights drafting documents to present at these meetings, losing sleep only to have to wake up that next morning for even more 8 AM meetings. I missed classes and mandatory recitations... I was exhausted, overcome with guilt, and felt powerless. Hours and hours of meetings, writing, and planning for nothing.... once again, with no discussion, the nuclear option was taken..."To protect these students from further harm, and to protect other and future students from similar harm, the MIT Corporation should fulfill its fiduciary responsibility to investigate how the Institute’s senior leadership came to compel the waste of thousands of person-hours of precious MIT student time. The Corporation should then direct corrections to any misaligned programs, policy, or personnel, in order to ensure that MIT upholds its core values, and that students can safely pursue their studies.James J. Pekar, Ph.D.S.B. Physics '81, Senior House resident ’77-'81
The punishment being implemented by the MIT Chancellor and President goes far beyond individual accountability, or the desire to eliminate drug use in the dorm. Allegations of widely tolerated drug use were made by the chancellor, but prior to the investigation, very few students were aware of the events that have now been punished by the COD.
Thank you for your August 15 e-mail about the horrific and frightening events in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend. I urge you to go one step further.
There comes a time, in the course of scientific evolution, when a discipline is ready to emerge from the womb if its parent disciplines and take its own place in the world. For computer science, or more accurately, for the field of computing, this moment is now.
Last week’s Tech article on the Class Awareness, Support, and Equality (CASE) socioeconomic study was a stark reminder to the MIT community that financial hardship is a real issue on campus. It affects undergraduates and graduate students alike, often invisibly. At an institution like MIT, it is unacceptable for any student to go without basic needs due to a lack of funds.
The mission of a School of Computing or an Institute-wide computing initiative should be to understand computing in all its forms, advance computing technology to support engineering, science and the humanities, educate students to be innovators of computing technology, and inform the public in the state-of-the-art of computing.