Letters to the Editor

Mother Teresa Deserved Nobel Prize

I have read the letter you received from Ahmed Hussain about Mother Teresa in which he discussed why she did not deserve the Nobel prize expressing some strong opinions about her activity. I wonder what is Hussain’s source of information regarding the activity of Mother Teresa. I have been myself several times in houses of the “Sisters of Charity” (the order of nuns Mother Theresa founded) and what I have seen is very different from what he describes. I have found simple nuns that lovingly assist and help those who are in need and those that have been forgotten by everybody and are alone.

In my opinion, the key to understand the work of mother Teresa and why she got the Nobel prize is the love she put in her activity. She treated the poorest of the poor as we would treat a family member: with outmost love and care. And this love is still alive in the houses of the order she founded.

I appreciate freedom of opinion. However, I suffer in seeing an overwhelmingly positive figure as Mother Teresa addressed with less than fair words. I would suggest that anyone interested get first hand information on the topic by visiting a house of the Sisters of Charity (there is a center nearby at 556 County St, New Bedford, MA 02740). Whether you agree or not with the sisters or with the reasons behind their activity, I’m sure the trip is worth it. At the very least it will give you a chance to learn firsthand about one of the greatest love-inspired movements in our time.

Stohlman ’76 Also Running for Cambridge Council

I think it’s great that Leland Cheung is running, but there’s more than one nerd in this race.

MIT ’76 (14) ’77 (10C) MArch. ’78

Kappa Sigma

Former Baker House RA

‘Tech’ Should Not Have Run FLAME Ad

This letter is in response to a paid advertisement that appeared in the Tuesday October 20th edition of The Tech (http://tech.mit.edu/V129/PDF/N46.pdf). This ad was submitted by an organization called FLAME that stated its purpose as one of enlightenment and education. In fact, the ad served only to promote inaccuracy and hate-speech. The ad, for example, compares the Arab people to Nazis. The other ideas presented in this ad are also extremely derogatory and offensive towards Palestinians and Arabs and we are surprised that they are tolerated by any means in an MIT publication.

This recent ad in The Tech, along with a number of other incidents that I described in my letter to the editor on May 12, 2009 (http://tech.mit.edu/V129/N26/kandil.html), adds to the growing sense of discomfort and exclusion that MIT’s Palestinian students and other Arabs are feeling on campus.

We ask that The Tech more carefully screen advertisements before they are published in order to avoid running racist ads that deeply offend members of the MIT community.

‘Tech’ Inaccurately Described MIT Retirement Program

The Tech published an article on Friday, October 23 describing MIT’s retirement program and proposed retirement plan cuts as described in the preliminary report of the Institute-Wide Planning Task Force. This article, unfortunately, provides a highly inaccurate description of MIT’s current retirement program.

For the record, MIT does not provide employees with a choice between a defined benefit and a defined contribution plan. MIT provides all retirement eligible employees with BOTH a defined contribution and a defined benefit retirement plan. MIT currently matches up to the first 5 percent contributed by an employee to the 401(k) plan — a defined contribution plan that establishes individual accounts for each participant. Each participant decides how to invest contributions and these accounts are subject to fluctuations in the financial markets, like any other individual investment. The full value of this account is available to the participant at retirement and can be withdrawn or can remain invested.

MIT is one of a diminishing number of employers who also provides a defined benefits pension plan for our retirement eligible employees. Employees do not contribute to this plan, but accrue a benefit across their entire working career at MIT. This is a complex, federally regulated plan that allows employees to accrue benefits using two different formulas, with the formula that provides a larger benefit used when an employee retires. At retirement, this account is converted to a monthly benefit payment that will continue for the employee’s lifetime or that can continue to a spouse or other beneficiary (upon the employee’s death) at an employee’s discretion. Every three years after retirement, a Cost of Living increase is added to the monthly pension amount.

We encourage all students and employees to read the preliminary report so you can acquaint yourselves more fully with the work of the task force. The small portion of the report proposal that was profiled in this article does not do justice to the hard work and monumental effort that the members of this Task Force undertook to carefully and thoroughly study these critically important issues.

For additional information on MIT’s retirement programs and the other benefits that make up a generous and highly competitive package of employee benefits, refer to our newly revised benefits website: http://hrweb.mit.edu/benefits

Director, Employee Benefits

MIT Human Resources

[ Editor’s Note: See correction above. ]