Hearing procedures to change as reports of sexual assault rise
A year after MIT released the results from its first community sexual assault survey, the Institute has implemented many of its accompanying recommendations and has begun launching new initiatives.
MindHandHeart expected to improve access to resources
In a letter sent to the MIT community Tuesday, Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart PhD ’88 and MIT Medical Director William Kettyle released a set of planned changes aimed at bolstering the Institute’s mental health resources. These changes come as a response to the results of the Healthy Minds Study, a mental health survey that was sent to all MIT undergraduate and graduate students last spring.
Inside the Tsarnaev courthouse
There are few things worth waking up early for each morning, but a so-called trial of the century is certainly one. On the first day of IAP, the trial of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev began.
Two Seamless members say hackathon misattribution was unintentional
Since the publiation of an article in The Tech about allegations of plagiarism against HackMIT contestants on the Seamless team, HackMIT organizers and two members of Seamless have stated that the videos they presented as output of their own code in the hackathon’s final presentation were actually published by Microsoft Research. Both these two contestants and the organizers said that the misattribution was unintentional, while a third member of the Seamless team has sought to publicly distance himself from the project.
Two HackMIT teams disqualified for misrepresenting their hacks
Two of HackMIT’s top eight finalists were disqualified last month after it was discovered that they had “misrepresented” what they accomplished, according to a HackMIT blog post. One of the teams, a group of three MIT sophomores calling themselves Seamless, originally came in second and were awarded $3,000. The other team, AgileAssault, did not make the top three, but received a $1,000 prize for placing in the top eight.
Reif ‘disturbed’ by results of MIT’s sexual assault survey
MIT released the results Monday of the sexual assault survey sent to all undergraduate and graduate students in April. Seventeen percent of female undergraduate respondents said that they had experienced behaviors defined as sexual assault at MIT, and President L. Rafael Reif said he is “disturbed by the extent and nature of the problem.”
Sexual assault survey results released, Reif 'disturbed' at extent of the problem
MIT released the results today of the sexual assault survey sent to all undergraduate and graduate students in April. Seventeen percent of female undergraduate respondents said that they had experienced behavior defined as sexual assault while at MIT.
New East Campus housemaster Professor Robert Miller moves in
Almost twenty years after leaving East Campus upon graduating MIT, computer science professor Robert C. Miller ’95 has returned to the dorm — this time as its housemaster. MIT named Miller to the position in August after a months-long selection process.
Cause of death of Professor Seth Teller is released
Professor Seth Teller’s death last Tuesday has been ruled a suicide, according to Terrel Harris, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner’s Office. The cause of death was listed as “blunt trauma to head and torso.”
Possible new gender options on MIT app
In an effort to be more inclusive, the undergraduate admissions office is considering adding to the gender options on its freshman application. Currently, the only choices available are “female” and “male.”
Professor Seth Teller, roboticist, dies at 50
Professor Seth Teller, who made robots that work with people, died on Tuesday, MIT has announced. He was 50.
Senior House to receive RLAD by fall despite residents’ opposition
By this fall, every dorm on campus will have a Residential Life Area Director (RLAD). Since the program began two years ago, each dorm has successively received one except for Senior House, home to some of the most vocal opponents.
Institute announces final design for new nanotech laboratory
Starting in spring 2018, MIT nanotechnology researchers will no longer have to go to Harvard to find suitable lab equipment. On Tuesday, MIT announced that it has committed $350 million to the construction of a new state-of-the-art nanoscale research facility.
Prof. unveils design for new tribute to Officer Sean Collier
A year after MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was allegedly shot and killed by the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, MIT unveiled its plans for a permanent memorial to him. Architecture Professor J. Meejin Yoon revealed her design at last Friday’s ceremony of remembrance for Collier.
MIT team wins first in Putnam math contest
MIT took first place in the 2013 William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition this year, only the seventh time the Institute has claimed the top prize of $25,000 since the founding of the competition almost a century ago. This year’s team was composed of Benjamin P. Gunby ’15, Mitchell M. Lee ’16, and Zipei Nie ’15, all of whom placed in the top 25. The team members were designated before the competition from among a larger group of MIT students taking the test.
SAT changes set to take effect in 2016
The College Board announced significant changes Wednesday to the SAT test, which is commonly used in college admissions. The news prompted a flurry of discussion across the country as students and educators alike debated the merits of the major redesign.
CPW events allowed to extend past 1 a.m.
Campus Preview Weekend (CPW) events can now once again be held past 1 a.m., according to the Undergraduate Association (UA) President Sidhanth P. Rao ’14. However, all events held after 1 a.m. must have a “wind-down” component, and will be presented in a different style in the Admissions Office CPW booklet. The announcement comes after the MIT Admissions Office’s announcement in December of a ban on all events between 1 and 6 a.m. In previous years, CPW events were allowed to be held after 3 a.m. as long as there was a safety plan to get the prefrosh home.
REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: 2016 Ring Premiere is true to tradition
Last Friday evening, I joined my fellow members of the Class of 2016 as we came together to watch the unveiling of this year’s Brass Rat design. Before the doors even opened, we already had a class-bonding experience — waiting outside Kresge in freezing temperatures.
The Institute racked up awards in 2013
From MacArthur Fellowships to Marshall Scholarships, MIT students, faculty, and alumni racked up a number of impressive awards in 2013.
Admissions says yes to 9 percent of early applicants
MIT admitted 612 students for the Class of 2018 under its early action program this year. This number represents a record low early acceptance rate of 9.0 percent, a decrease from the 9.9 percent admittance rate last year.
New ASA resource eligibility proposal
The resources for which MIT student groups can be eligible may be subject to new restrictions introduced within key Association of Student Activities (ASA) proposed policy changes. The proposal describing those restrictions — the “openness” proposal — would implement a tiered ASA resource eligibility system based on the group’s membership policies regarding sex/gender, undergraduate/graduate student status, class year, GPA, and major.
Reif discusses his vision of MIT’s next Chancellor, seeks student input
Two weeks ago, President L. Rafael Reif announced that Eric Grimson PhD ’80 would be stepping down from his Chancellorship to take on the new role of Chancellor for Academic Advancement. Prior to serving as the Chancellor, Grimson headed the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from 2005 to 2011. The Tech sat down with Reif to discuss his visions for the next Chancellor and Grimson’s new role in fundraising.
Fifth week flags issued
This semester, 144 freshmen, or 12.9 percent of the Class of 2017, were issued fifth week flags. The proportion of recipients is down from almost a fifth of the Class of 2016 last year. Fifth week flags exist as part of an early warning system to encourage students to reevaluate their study habits.
Life explained differently: two new intro biology classes
The biology department launched two new introductory biology classes this term, 7.015 and 7.016, bringing the total number of introductory biology classes to five. 7.015 is the first intro biology class to cater towards students who come from a stronger biology background. 7.015 also incorporates discussion-based recitations and guest lectures, in contrast to the standard lecture format of the other 7.01x classes.
Two MIT professors win MacArthur Fellowships
This year, the MacArthur Foundation selected 24 recipients of their MacArthur Fellowships, otherwise known as the MacArthur “Genius Grants.” Two MIT professors — Dina Katabi MS ’99, PhD ’03 from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Sara Seager from the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences — were named MacArthur Fellows. The Tech spoke with them to find out what excites them about their research, and what it’s like to work in male-dominated fields.
3.091 experiments with new online learning this semester
At first glance, an MIT class without p-sets, exams, or essays sounds almost too good to be true. For 3.091 Professor Michael J. Cima, it is his semester-long experiment to test whether students learn better when residence-based instruction is combined with online instruction.
The swallowing of the shrew
How far would you go in the name of science? Last night, 10 new Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded to scientists who had succeeded in publishing “improbable” research at the 23rd First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony.
Housing increases dorm occupancy
Two weeks ago, MIT Housing announced that six undergraduate dorms will be undergoing a temporary housing increase for the fall semester. MIT Housing sent an email to each student living in the affected dorms listing the specific rooms in their dorm that will have increased occupancy.
One year, 27 schools, 1 million enrollments
It’s been a little more than a year since edX, the nonprofit online learning enterprise founded by MIT and Harvard, first launched with much fanfare and a lot of press. Now, the enterprise encompasses 27 schools from 11 countries. In the past two weeks alone, edX has added more than half of those schools. At the same time, edX has completely overhauled its website design with the intentions of making it more colorful, sleek, and ultimately more appealing to the world. Finally, last Saturday, edX released its entire source code with the hopes of making the learning platform an open source project to which the community can contribute.
David Cameron stops at Media Lab on US tour British PM speaks with researchers, meets with students to discuss entrepreneurship
Last month, British Prime Minister David Cameron paid a visit to the MIT Media Lab as a part of his weeklong tour of the U.S. to promote the United Kingdom with Prince Harry. Cameron was welcomed by Media Lab director Joichi Ito and MIT president L. Rafael Reif. Policemen stood guard outside the Media Lab throughout Cameron’s visit, with at least one sniper on the roof of Senior House.
Residents of Bexley considering housing
Last Tuesday, Dean for Student Life Chris Colombo announced that Bexley Hall would be closed for up to three years for renovations, displacing all residents at the end of this semester. On Friday, the Bexley community collectively voiced their concerns and wishes in a letter addressed to Chancellor Eric Grimson PhD ’80 and Dean Colombo, signed by over 70 students and GRTs. Grimson and Colombo responded to the letter yesterday afternoon. In the meantime, Bexley residents were given the option of entering a housing lottery, which closed yesterday at 5 p.m., if they wanted to remain in on-campus housing next year.
REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: Sal Khan talks education styles
On Wednesday, Salman A. Khan ’98, founder of Khan Academy, was brought to MIT by StartLabs to speak about starting Khan Academy and what he’s doing now. He fielded questions from MIT President Rafael Reif, who interviewed him on the stage of Kresge Auditorium.
‘Old’ ASA requirement leaves some unsettled
In early spring, the Association of Student Activities (ASA) emailed to all ASA-recognized student groups requiring that the information in their ASA database entry to be up-to-date and compliant with the ASA’s rules and regulations. One of the requirements was that group constitutions include the ASA Governance Clause — any group missing the clause from its constitution received a notification of such, requiring that the clause be added in order for the ASA to approve the constitution. (The Tech, as it is currently an ASA-recognized group without the governance clause, also received this request.) The clause as a requirement for ASA-recognized groups has existed for several years, according to ASA president Rachel H. Keeler ’14, but has not been uniformly enforced.
The role and function of the Institute-wide HDC
Next time you have something to say about the dining halls, consider talking to the members of MIT’s House Dining Committee (HDC).
Three dorms open for summer housing
Planning on staying on-campus this summer? Three dorms — East Campus (East Parallel), MacGregor, and Senior House — will house undergraduates this summer. Two of them, MacGregor and Senior House, also housed undergraduate students last summer.
Freshman GIR pass rates remain steady relative to yearly averages
Last semester, the freshman class’ passing rate for the math and science General Institute Requirements (GIRs) was 96.3 percent. According to Julie B. Norman, the Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, this pass rate is similar to previous years’ numbers. Of the 203 students who received fifth-week flags, 15 dropped the subject they were flagged in, and 39 did not end up passing.
New Media Lab Fellows
What does the co-creator of Lost and director of the next Star Wars film have to do with an international chess grandmaster? A successful fashion designer? The author of a New York Times bestseller? All are members of the MIT Media Lab’s first group of Director’s Fellows, announced last month in a Media Lab blog post.
Early sophomore standing
This year, 25.9 percent of freshmen were offered early sophomore standing, down slightly from last year’s 26.9 percent. Of the 296 eligible, 134 freshmen have accepted so far. Offers were sent out in late November by the Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Julie B. Norman. Although freshmen have until Add Date, March 8, to accept, Norman does not expect the number to rise significantly.
Changes to the freshman experience
For freshmen, the MIT experience begins as soon as they are admitted. A record-low 8.9 percent of applicants were admitted to the Class of 2016, and 70 percent of those admitted accepted their offer of admission. Because of the record high yield rate, no one was admitted from the waitlist for the first time in seven years.
MIT Medical’s 24/7 emergency hotline
What do you do when you have an urgent problem and MIT Medical is closed? Since MIT Medical’s Urgent Care closed to walk-ins from midnight to 7 a.m. two years ago, a 24-hour helpline service was put into place in December 2010. People with urgent medical or emotional problems can reach the helpline at 617-253-4481. However, the type of response differs based on the time that the person calls.
Online support group hopes to connect students
Sometimes, it is easier to discuss personal feelings with someone online than in person. Peer2Peer hopes to use that fact. It will be MIT’s first student support service to be conducted completely online. Cofounders of the program Tzipora R. Wagner ’12 and Isabella S. Lubin ’13 designed Peer2Peer as an anonymous, message-based system in order to make reaching out for help more accessible to stressed-out students. Originally intended to launch this year, the program has hit several roadblocks in its development and will not start until at least next year.
Peer Ears to support students within dormitories
Need an ear? Next fall, students will be able to try Peer Ears, a peer support service within students’ residences which will act as a safeguard against an environment of overwhelming stress. The support staff will be comprised of students, called “peer ears,” who work with the existing support services in the dorms (such as GRTs, Housemasters) in order to promote mental well-being. Co-founders Emad Taliep ’14 and Divya Srinivasan ’13 have moved the launch of their pilot program from this coming spring to fall of 2013 in order to keep recruiting volunteers. Before launching, they want to ensure that there are enough residences of sufficient diversity in order to make reliable observations about what is the optimal support system for MIT.
W20 to get card readers soon
Going for a late night Verdes run? Better grab your MIT ID. Starting Tuesday, the doors to W20 will require card access every night between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.. During those hours, visitors will only be able to enter through two doors: the front entrance near LaVerde’s and the back entrance by the ATMs.
Peer Ears: here to listen
Feeling stressed but don’t know what to do? Starting next spring, students will be able to take advantage of a new student-run program called Peer Ears, designed to allow students, or “peer ears,” to refer their peers in need to the proper MIT support resources. The program was founded by Divya Srinivasan ’13 and Emad Taliep ’14, who felt that many students were not always sure where to go if they encountered a problem. Unlike MedLinks, however, peer ears will not be trained to handle mental health issues themselves.
MIT Together for wellness
Now that MIT students are halfway through their first semester, they have had enough time to gauge how they are doing so far this year, academically and otherwise. Last week, MIT launched MIT Together, an initiative aimed to de-stigmatize and de-mystify asking for help in the MIT community. The core of MIT Together is a new website, together.mit.edu. On the site, students can find listings of student help services ranging from academic resources to mental health support.
Sustainability, ethics and global systems
On Monday, Oct. 15, the Dalai Lama participated in a whole-day forum, in which he shared the stage with a diverse group of experts. The event, titled “Global Systems 2.0,” focused on global issues, such as world hunger, climate change, and global health. The day consisted of two panels: one in the morning titled “Ethics, Economics, and Environment,” and one in the afternoon titled “Peace, Governance, and Diminishing Resources.”
Junot Diaz, MacArthur Grant winner
Often overshadowed by its engineering and science counterparts, the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) at MIT has been called the “hidden jewel” of the Institute. Now, the SHASS has one more award to add to its list of accolades. On Oct. 2, the MacArthur Foundation announced that it had selected MIT professor Junot Diaz to receive a MacArthur Fellowship for his outstanding talent in fiction writing. The foundation awards about 20 so-called “Genius Grants” each year, which each come with $500,000 of no-strings-attached prize money in installments over five years.
New freshman class council
After a week of campaigning by the 2016 Class Council candidates, the UA announced the results of the election last Saturday. The freshman class elected Anish D. Punjabi ’16 as president and Pratyush “Priya” Kalluri ’16 as vice president. Of the 1140 freshmen, 40.5 percent voted this year, up from 33.5 percent last year. In previous years, senate elections were held concurrently with the freshman class council elections in the fall, but the Undergraduate Association (UA) disbanded the senate at the end of last year.
Gracious professionalism first
The Tech recently sat down with retired MIT professor Woodie C. Flowers PhD ’73, one of the founders of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition and a recipient of many teaching awards while at MIT.
Sororities give out 173 bids
MIT’s Panhellenic Association offered 173 bids this year, the same number as last year. Alpha Phi and Kappa Alpha Theta gave out the most bids, with 37 each. Recruitment saw a slight increase in the number of registrants this year, with 350 students registered for the first day. Students who registered and stayed throughout Recruitment went through a five day process, with three days dedicated to mutual selection and ranking sororities at the end of the day.
List Visual Arts Center brings art into students’ lives
Attending MIT has more perks than just getting a world-class education. Each year, through the Student Loan Art Program, MIT’s List Visual Arts Center allows students to borrow artwork for an academic year at no cost. The collection includes photography and paintings, reprints and originals, contemporary and modern works. However, students must go through a lottery first.