Letters for Swartz
This is an update for the MIT community about the analysis President Reif asked me to lead last January on the events concerning MIT and Aaron Swartz. I’m preparing a report together with Institute Professor Emeritus Peter Diamond and Washington, DC attorney Andrew Grosso. We’re being supported by Assistant Provost Doug Pfeiffer. The four of us have been working hard. Given the visibility of the Aaron Swartz case and the controversies surrounding it, it’s important to get the report right and to take the necessary time and effort to do that. My plan is to give my report to President Reif this summer.
Swartz judge sides with MIT on release of case evidence
U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton ordered yesterday that some confidentiality restrictions be removed from evidence MIT had produced for the case against Aaron Swartz, which was dropped after his suicide in January. This is the first order since Swartz’s lawyers’ motion on March 15, which would have made information collected for the trial public. The judge agreed with MIT’s and JSTOR’s March 29 responses, asking that information including the names of employees be redacted.
International students will experience new inspections
Last Wednesday, international students received an email from Danielle Guichard-Ashbrook, director and associate dean of the International Students Office, warning them to be prepared for a new and potentially time-consuming border inspection process when re-entering the U.S. Guichard-Ashbrook stated that the new inspection process is a “direct response” to the Boston Marathon bombings.
The percentage of admitted freshman choosing to enroll at MIT will be about 72 to 73 percent. Mikey Yang ’05, Associate Director of Admissions, posted the news in a blog post on Monday. This is the highest ever yield for MIT, preceded by 70, 65, and 64 percent in the three previous years, respectively. Twenty transfers were also accepted. No students will be accepted from the wait list. This is only the second time in the past eight years that MIT has not been able to accept students from its wait list. Yang said that they had planned to accept from the wait list before seeing enrollment results.
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.
Bomb suspect talked of jihad
KIZLYAR, Russia — It’s not every day that a well-dressed American shows up in this town, where shaggy cows meander over deeply rutted roads, so people remember Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Among the things that made the young visitor stand out, two acquaintances recalled Thursday, was his avid interest in waging jihad.
Plans for mixed-use development at intersection of Mass Ave. and Main St.
Following Normandy Real Estate Partners and Twining Properties’ purchase of properties formally owned by Kathy Fennell and the Fennell Property Trust in January, plans for the area at the intersection of Mass Ave. and Main St. will have a general focus on mixed-use development but remain unspecific. A joint venture between Normandy Real Estate Partners and Twining Properties bought the parcels, including several parking lots and the former Quest Diagnostics building, for a reported $32.4 million. According to Cambridge City Councilor Kenneth Reeves, the Fennel properties constitute “the largest number of parcels to be sold in Central Square in a long time.”
BOSTON — The mystery surrounding the burial of the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev has come to an end. The Boston Marathon bombing suspect was buried this week at a small Muslim cemetery in Doswell, Va.
Cyprus gets first tranche of bailout funds
PARIS — After striking an unprecedented deal in March to make many bank depositors help pay for an international bailout, Cyprus on Monday received 2 billion euros, the first installment of that money, aimed at buttressing the economy after the near-collapse of its banking sector.
After a cool start, week warms up
It has been a cool start to the week, with high temperatures yesterday barely making it to 60°F, a trend that will continue today. It may get a few degrees warmer than yesterday, but we are still looking at the low 60°Fs, but that could be knocked down with the development of an afternoon seabreeze. Temperatures tonight will also be chilly, with lows in the low 40°Fs. Last night, in fact, the National Weather Service put out frost advisories because away from the coast, low temperature were expected to drop into the 30°Fs. Luckily for the warm weather lovers, milder air will work its way into the region for the end of the week, with highs Thursday and Friday expected to be in the mid to upper 70°Fs.
IRS focus on conservatives gives GOP issue to seize on
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service’s special scrutiny of small-government groups applying for tax-exempt status went beyond keyword hunts for organizations with “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names, to a more overtly ideological search for applicants seeking to “make America a better place to live” or “criticize how the country is being run,” according to part of a draft audit by the inspector general that has been given to Capitol Hill.
HONG KONG — The Chinese Communist Party has warned officials to combat “dangerous” Western values and other perceived ideological threats, according to accounts on Monday of a directive that analysts said reflects the top leader Xi Jinping’s determination to preserve top-down political control even as he considers economic liberalization.
Obama scoffs at Libya outcry but vows to act on IRS audits
WASHINGTON — An exasperated President Barack Obama on Monday called Republican criticism of his handling of the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, “a sideshow” and said that any accusation of a cover-up by his administration “defies logic.”
Firms brace for new European data privacy law
BERLIN — The effort in Europe to adopt the world’s strongest data protection law has drawn the attention of dozens of lobbyists from U.S. technology and advertising companies.
In the 2011-12 fiscal year, the nation’s highest paid public university president was Graham B. Spanier, the president of Pennsylvania State University, who was forced out in November 2011 over his handling of a child sex abuse scandal involving a football coach.
European leaders grapple with youth unemployment
FRANKFURT, Germany — Record youth unemployment is emerging as the most urgent problem in the eurozone, if the political rhetoric of recent days is any measure. But leaders are struggling to come up with effective ways to prevent jobless young people in countries like Spain and Greece from becoming a lost generation and source of social upheaval.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Editor’s Note: The Tech received numerous letters from Bexley residents after last week’s announcement that Bexley would be closing for up to three years due to structural problems. Printed here is a representative subset of those letters.
A new community, a new experience
There has understandably been a great deal of anxiety on campus about how best to relocate the hundred or so displaced Bexley residents who will need to be housed in a different place come fall than everyone had been expecting. We would like to find a solution that is ‘fair,’ but of course there is no obvious fix that is fair to everyone. Relocating a number of students from a place they had settled themselves, into the midst of other people who had also already settled themselves, poses very real challenges.
A silver bullet for dorm overcrowding
This coming fall, due to the closure of Bexley Hall, on-campus housing will be particularly tight. Dormitories have already been told that they will likely be subject to overcrowding, with doubles turned into triples and quads.
A caption in the May 7, 2013 issue misidentified the subject. The caption should read “Salih J. Wakil describes his path in biological research in his Lifetime Achievement acceptance speech at the 2013 MIT Arab Students Organization Science and Technology Achievement Awards banquet.”
Time to pretend
30 percent of MIT students who responded to The Tech’s survey (427 people) have dressed up as a character from Harry Potter, Firefly, Star Trek, Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings. While many of this number are very likely casual fans who threw on a Gryffindor scarf to see the premiere of The Deathly Hallows, hidden within this statistic is a number of devoted MIT students who take costumes to the next level — cosplayers.
Iron Man Costume
One of the interesting costumes we came across was an Iron Man suit created by Brian Chan ’02, an instructor at the MIT hobby shop. “I like Iron Man because it has a good story of a self-made super hero,” he said, “Also, in the series, Tony Stark is an MIT Alum, so I think it would be a shame if none of the best Iron Man costumes came out of MIT.”
Fandom in student groups
Fandoms come in all shapes and sizes, and MIT has a smattering of several groups dedicated to different aspects of pop culture. The Tech sat with a few groups on campus to examine where fandoms fit in at the Institute. Not all groups we wished to interview were available for comment.
Favorite TV show?
Fandoms, the Internet, and Harry Potter
Flourish M. Klink, a lecturer in MIT’s Comparative Media Studies (CMS) program, has built a life around fandoms. After running her own Harry Potter fansite and being on staff at Fanfiction.net, at age 13, Klink co-founded the Harry Potter fanfiction website FictionAlley with nine others. FictionAlley was “incorporated as an educational non-profit with the mission of helping people learn to write through fanfiction,” said Klink, and it was one of the first fanfiction forums on the Internet that made writing improvement a site-wide mission.
Tastes at MIT By Kali Xu Campus Life Editor
If you could meet one fictional character, who would it be?
It’s difficult to separate the concept of nerdiness from MIT. The Coop sells stickers that say Nerd Pride, our mascot is the beaver (nature’s engineer), and Conan O’Brien pokes fun at MIT’s nerdiness on his Twitter.
Extended Klink Interview
The Tech: Could you tell us a little bit [about] how you first got involved in fandom?
A league-leading 61 athletes represented MIT on the 2013 New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Spring Academic All-Conference Team. The Engineers finished the year with a conference-high 146 selections, followed by WPI with 101.
Men’s track places 8th in NEWMACs
MIT Men’s Track and Field wrapped up competition at the New England Outdoor Championships with an eighth place finish with 36.50 points on Saturday. The Engineers finished just ahead of New Hampshire, with 35 points. Southern Connecticut State came in first place with 159 points.