Faculty Discuss Hackers, Education

Administrators are working with the district attorney's office to seek a means of moving the felony trials involving three MIT students out of the Cambridge court system to an internal Committee on Discipline process, according to Chancellor Phillip L. Clay PhD '75.

The students are facing charges including trespassing and breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony for an incident that took place at the E52 Faculty Club in late October.

Harold Abelson PhD '73, professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, raised the issue at the faculty meeting on Wednesday to determine "what MIT is planning to do now."

In an e-mail, Abelson wrote, "I think that there was a lapse in MIT procedures that resulted in this case getting so far along without the top administration knowing about it."

The decision to move to dismiss the case was prompted following "discussions among various concerned MIT administration and faculty personnel," according to Clay. A meeting was held Wednesday morning to review the case and determine what the next steps will be.

The motion hearing is currently scheduled for 9 a.m. on Feb. 28 at the Middlesex County Cambridge district court.

Task force, global education

Reports on the Presidential Task Force on the Undergraduate Educational Commons and on global education were also presented during the faculty meeting.

Aron Walker '07, a student member of the task force, stressed that an "MIT education should exhibit a passion for learning" and called for a more flexible core set of General Institute Requirements.

Deborah K. Fitzgerald, dean of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, suggested that the Institute develop a track where students can integrate global issues into their curriculum as freshmen, including study abroad and interdepartmental programs. Fitzgerald, who chaired the committee on HASS reform, stated that GIR and HASS requirements should be more transparent for students.

Edward B. Turk, professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures, said that the currently proposed HASS reform, specifically the Freshman Experience, would make it very difficult for undergraduates to pursue an uninterrupted four year study of foreign languages.

In the report on global education, barriers including limited student opportunities, inflexible course requirements, a lack of awareness by the student population, and an existing financial penalty in student aid were identified by Linn W. Hobbs, professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Biology Professor Hazel L. Sive.

The report stressed the importance of students obtaining an understanding for different learning and work styles, a competency to work in other societies, and leadership skills across cultures. The report recommended increasing student awareness of international programs, doubling cross culture opportunities, incorporating global education in the curriculum, and removing financial barriers for students.