Don’t let ‘Charlie’ get stranded!
Over the past few years, the MBTA has made great strides in reducing costs and improving service, making Boston’s system the envy of other Northeast cities. However, Forward Funding legislation, which requires the MBTA to borrow against future revenue to pay for capital projects, is dedicating increasing fractions of the annual operating budget to interest payments. This benefits no one except capital markets that are collecting interest on the debt. No amount of fare increases or service cuts can solve the MBTA’s deficit alone.
After 150 years, MIT is heading in the wrong direction with affirmative action
A key question brought up at the recent MIT Diversity Summit, and the MLK Jr. annual breakfast, was how can MIT balance excellence with diversity? It has been commonly noted that students and faculty alike perceive tension within the Institute between the frequent appeals for increased diversity, and the culture of hard work and meritocracy that make MIT what it is. This question received heavy emphasis in the 2010 Report on the Initiative for Faculty Race and Diversity. One of the final statements of that report was that, “While almost everyone at MIT would like the Institute to be an institution of merit and inclusion, it will be difficult to reach this ideal if race and ethnicity are ignored and presumed irrelevant.”
In responding to Brandon Briscoe’s , I won’t recount my successes as a minority at MIT, or those of my mother and father, a former employee and a graduate student, respectively. Not that my perspective lacks worth, but other students and faculty members can disprove Briscoe’s insinuations many times over. However, I must address Briscoe faulty evidence of reverse discrimination directly.
Excellence has many dimensions
In the Feb. 17, 2012 issue of The Tech, Brandon Briscoe argues that MIT is “heading in the wrong direction with affirmative action”, and suggests that MIT uses quotas or preferences in its admissions and hiring practices. While we respect Brandon’s right to express his opinion and his courage in doing so, we fundamentally disagree with his premises and statements.
On excellence and diversity
As a Mexican-American alumna of MIT, I feel comforted by that “don’t get me wrong, every student and faculty member I have ever met at MIT …deserve[s] to be here.” I’m relieved that the Institute policies which “erode the meritocracy at MIT” somehow allowed me and other appropriately qualified minorities into the school.
Let’s take a moment
It seems all we do at MIT is talk about the future. How are med school apps going? Are you going to take your job offer? Are you ready for that test tomorrow? In a way, it’s justified; we’ve spent our whole lives working as hard as we can in hopes of mastering our futures — in hopes of controlling our destinies.
A student perspective on MIT 2030
Over the past year, the Institute has been releasing “MIT 2030,” its framework for land use and renovation for the next 20 years, and it contains some interesting and ambitious ideas for commercial development on and around the MIT campus. However, behind flowery language of an “innovation district” lie major problems with MIT 2030. In effect, the plan neglects the central mission of the Institute: to “advance knowledge and educate students.”
Let’s not derail MIT from its path of excellence
MIT is the finest research institution in the world, in no small part because of its unwavering commitment to recruiting, admitting, and hiring the best talent in the world, even if that talent comes from less-advantaged or atypical backgrounds. Periodically examining the mechanisms by which the Institute pursues its mission is essential, but those examinations must be grounded in both data and an understanding of the MIT ethos. Brandon Briscoe’s execrable and intellectually dishonest rant against diversity and inclusion at the Institute is neither, serving as a disheartening call to take MIT in precisely the wrong direction. By mischaracterizing MIT’s admission and hiring processes as a de facto quota system, Briscoe effects a brilliant takedown of a straw man of his own creation and manages to cast aspersions on the intellect of every MIT-affiliated woman and underrepresented minority, … all based on little more than a few sloppy citations and the courage of his own biased convictions.
Affirmative action: the perspective from admissions
In response to the recent discussions taking place in these pages, where a lot has been said about the admissions process, I want to take this opportunity to add to the conversation with a few comments.
Getting better by leaving the Institute
I am no longer an undergraduate at MIT, but my mother still receives notices from the parents’ association now and again. Last week, she received an email from Christina Aprea informing the MIT parents community that a junior was found dead in his dormitory room. The cause of death has not been officially released yet.
Saving Alcator C-Mod
The MIT fusion experiment Alcator C-Mod has been slated for cancellation in the presidential budget request for fiscal year 2013, a cut of nearly $18 million to the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) to be enacted in September 2012. The shuttering of this single largest experiment at MIT will be devastating to the research of many of our professional scientists, upwards of 30 graduate students and dozens of undergraduate students at MIT. Luckily, this budget must still be passed by Congress to go into effect, and we need your help now to reverse this decision.
S ^ 3 is a valuable guide and resource
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that MIT is a difficult place. The challenges students face, whether academic or social, are difficult to handle even amidst the best mental health states. We enter the Institute as the top students from our hometowns with ambitions of maintaining this status by being the best in our classes and extracurricular activities. We have not failed until we get to MIT.
(As a preface to this letter, I make no assumptions about accidental or intentional nature of the sad passing of Brian G. Anderson ’13, and stand with the MIT community in sending our thoughts and wishes to his family and friends. Yet, I believe his death, as the most recent loss of a student on campus, brings to light a very concerning issue on campus.)
Fusion research is a wise investment
Course 22 senior Derek Sutherland’s article in last Friday’s Tech did a great job of describing why the Alcator C-Mod magnetic fusion experiment, the largest experiment at MIT, deserves to be funded in the fiscal year 2013 federal budget. But it is also imperative to note how magnetic fusion energy research in the United States as a whole is in serious danger at this time, and how the path proposed for fusion in the 2013 budget is harmful to the future of U.S. energy independence and U.S. scientific leadership.
The dangers of American deprecationism
Andy Liang’s opinion piece in the Tuesday edition of The Tech is insulting, disgusting, and wrong on so many counts that it is difficult to know where to start. It is a “shotgun blast” article, aiming to incriminate an “unapologetic media”, downplay (if not delegitimize) the notion that PTSD may have been involved, and altogether is indicative of a very troubling trend amongst American culture today.
The myths about plyometrics
Allison Hamilos posted an arti cle about plyometrics on March 20, 2012. Although she gave the right reasons for doing plyometrics, what she considered plyometrics is quite inaccurate and would not improve your goals of explosive strength. What she described can be usable in its own right as a fat-loss and general conditioning workout, but it is not true that it would help you jump higher or run faster (assuming that you are already a decent athlete). Her safety advice is sound, other than the use of “athletic shoes.”
A lasting and just solution for resolving the conflicts with the Iranian Regime
On March 14, 2012, I attended the CIS (Center for International Studies) sponsored book event by Trita Parsi at MIT . I shall refrain from commenting on his book and instead refer those interested to the Jan. 23, 2012 Wall Street Journal article by Sohrab Ahmari titled “It Takes Two to Engage” . However I would write about the question I wanted to ask from Abbas Maleki, the discussant at the event, but I couldn’t.
Day of Silence
“Faggot!” I braced myself for the barrage of gum, paper, and pencils that they would throw at me. I quickened my pace to get to class before they could torment me further. I looked around for help but no one stood up for me — no students, no teachers, no staff. Almost immediately after I had come out as gay a few weeks earlier, the bullying had started.
The importance of CityDays
CityDays has been part of orientation for 20 years. Having CityDays as an official activity of orientation conveys to incoming freshmen an ethic of service at MIT. Every year, 40–45 community organizations are served by 600–900 MIT student CityDays participants. The number of upperclassmen volunteer group leaders has doubled in the past two years to almost 200. This large-scale event is one of the highest-profile opportunities for MIT to publicize its commitment to volunteerism in the local community.
Athletes and allies
We are athletes. We are teammates. We are allies. April 20, also known as the Day of Silence, is the national day to take a stand against homophobic bullying, and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) would like to take a moment to say why it’s important to have allies in athletics.
Commemorating the Armenian genocide
During World War I, the world witnessed the first genocide of the twentieth century. From 1915 to 1918, 1.5 million Armenians (approximately 50 percent of the Armenian population at that time), along with other minorities living in the Ottoman Empire, were systematically killed by the Ottoman Turks. The Armenian Genocide is commemorated on April 24; it was on this day in 1915 that the Young Turks, the ruling party of the Ottoman Empire, ordered the killing of Armenian intellectuals, leaders, artists, and businessmen living in the Ottoman Empire. Following this day, many Armenian men were massacred and plans for the genocide were implemented.
Building better shuttles
Though the Institute is famous for its ability to innovate for the greater society, it is also equally well-positioned to solve for problems residing within its own walls. As opposed to bringing in expensive outside consultants or expanding the administrative hierarchy in order to address the dynamic issues/problems facing MIT, we would like to propose a paradigm shift towards looking inwards first to see what types of novel solutions can be generated far before RFPs and Calls for Applicants are ever distributed. As a basis for this hypothesis consider that this month, members of the Committee on Student Life (CSL) received a presentation from the Graduate Student Council’s (GSC) Transportation Working Group (TWG) which did just that: The TWG leveraged MIT skill sets to help it creatively solve shared problems and seize upon new opportunities.
2012 - 2008 = 1960
“We’ve just been kicked in the groin.”
edX is freeing education
This Wednesday, MIT President Susan Hockfield and Harvard President Drew Faust announced the edX platform for online education. I have been taking the pilot edX course 6.002x this semester, but it wasn’t until I saw these two women speak that I realized just how big this initiative could be. 6.002x is already an incredible technological achievement that accurately replicates an introductory Course VI class on the Internet. After the announcement this Wednesday, this revolutionary online experience of MIT classes made the leap to become a multi-institutional platform that could transform the delivery of education worldwide.
The view from the virtual classroom
MITx and its spawn, edX, are much in the news, but do they merit the hype? Let me give you the view from the cheap seats.
The art of advocacy at MIT
On May 1, MIT Corporation Member Barun Singh ENG ’06 called for MIT students to advocate for themselves. This is difficult with MIT’s current structure of advocacy, which lacks proper forums to share problems and ideas. Students advocate through the student groups they are a part of, and student groups are forced to make advocacy entertainment. Events such as Alpha Chi Omega’s Lipsync for raising domestic violence awareness and the Chorallaries’ Bad Taste, which makes fun of scandalous occurrences on campus, are fun but students do not leave the show with a heightened sense of awareness — they are often focused on the event itself, and not the issue at hand. I would like to explain why advocacy currently happens as it does and make suggestions for how to get students more involved in politics.
RLADs will support — not replace — current house teams
Last Tuesday, I wrote to the housemasters with the announcement that I had decided that the role of the Residential Life Associate in the residence halls should be enhanced, so that the residential system could better support undergraduates living on campus. The plan I announced would increase the number of RLAs, so that one could be assigned to almost every dormitory, and would increase the required education and experience, so that students, housemasters, and GRTs would have access to a higher level of expertise.
RLAD process and proposal have serious flaws
Editors note: The following letter was addressed to Chancellor Eric Grimson PhD ’80 and the Division of Student Life. It was signed by over 40 GRTs (see sidebar).
Presidential Transition Advisory Cabinet Formed
Science, a wondrous and reductive practice
The periodic voyage of celestial bodies, the cosmic rhythm that was only just observable to the humble Earth-dweller, in many ancient civilizations, represented fate, hope and a way of life itself. The Mayans held the Venus cycle in high regard, its movement representing a challenge to the mighty Sun, auspicious timing for territorial war.
Appalled by cost of last year’s new MIT meal plan, I decided to learn to cook for myself. In two semesters, I saved about $2,180.66.* Now I want to encourage MIT students to consider if the meal plan is right for them.
A love letter to MIT
I received my bachelor’s from Wellesley College (‘06), master’s from Boston University (‘08), master’s from Harvard University (‘08), and will be receiving my doctorate from Harvard; but it’s you, MIT, that has made the biggest impact on my life — academically, socially, and personally. And for that, I love you. You have succeeded in making a positive impact not just on your immediate family members, but you have touched the lives of people who are only a mere part of your extended network.
A fairer PE policy
In prepared remarks to the MIT community last year, President Reif declared that one of his most cherished values includes “a commitment to meritocracy.” Indeed meritocracy is one of the values which make MIT great. Recognizing, rewarding, and encouraging the talents of its students and general population help MIT attract the brightest people in the world and keep these people happy and productive during their time here.
RLAD process not a failure
The process of implementing Residential Life Area Directors (RLADs or ADs) has been criticized by certain undergraduates, recently culminating in an editorial in The Tech on August 31, 2012. While we are glad to see The Tech encouraging a warm welcome for our ADs, we believe that many claims about the AD process are grossly exaggerated or even inaccurate. While not perfect, the process has been neither unacceptable nor “disturbing.” In fact, it has had considerable student involvement, and we urge students to continue to actively participate in shaping the AD into a successful new support role at MIT.
Living up to MIT’s land grant commitment
150 years ago this summer, the U.S. Congress passed a bill introduced by Vermont representative Justin Morrill, which provided for “the endowment, support and maintenance of colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts.” Shortly thereafter, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act into law, ushering in the development of one of our nation’s greatest achievements — the nation’s land-grant colleges and universities, the precursors to today’s public higher education system. From the great public institutions of the upper Midwest (think the Big 10 and Big 12) to the University of California system, the Morrill Act called on the states to provide colleges where the “industrial classes” (had Mr. Morrill introduced this bill today he would have likely written “middle class”) could pursue a “liberal and practical education” in the agricultural and mechanical arts. The intent is excerpted from the original Morrill Act:
The solution to arrogance: humility
While I agree with the spirit and overall theme of Feras Saad’s article, “The arrogance of freshmen” (i.e. that taking advantage of opportunities at MIT is more important than the fact that you got in here), several sentences had a tone that belied another form of arrogance. The worst was, “ … taking four classes a semester and getting A’s … is not much to brag about, but taking the initiative to research with professors or intern in industry certainly is,” followed closely by, “One can take four classes a semester and cruise through an MIT degree by junior year.”
A new kind of classroom
With the evolution of massive open online course (MOOC) and online learning, in the near future students will no longer need a lecture to learn material. We are already seeing the beginning of this trend; independent learners can teach themselves in an online environment and receive immediate feedback. This represents a major change in model of education. Teachers are no longer the gatekeepers of knowledge and students can take charge of their own educations. The democratizing of knowledge will completely reshape the classroom. When students no longer need to come to lecture to learn the material, what role does the classroom have in education? Where is the added value?
Childcare — a gift for the MIT family
As students and researchers, we often fall into the trap of disproportionately offering critique over praise and expressing misgivings over thanks. Regardless of whether this is some unavoidable part of human nature or a result of admissions selecting for overly critical creative thinkers, we must all make an improved effort to recognize instances of selfless philanthropy, compassionate leadership, and keen foresight and offer high praise where it is due. It was with great excitement and optimism that we read The Tech’s article breaking news of the new daycare facility at 219 Vassar to open in less than a year’s time. Though David Koch’s and Charles and Jennifer Johnson’s building will never host a cure to cancer or solution to the energy crisis, it will deliver in two equally critical ways which the Institute desperately needs right now:
Our duty as scientists
Science today has an image problem. Too often it is seen as an esoteric activity of academics, whose results have no influence on the daily lives of the American people. When the news of the neutrinos supposedly going faster of light was reported and the public saw the scientific community scramble to debunk this claim, I cannot help but wonder what an American who does not follow science thought of the coverage.
Our civil duty not to vote?
As November 6 approaches, we once again hear the calls of political activists insisting that it is not only our right but our responsibility to vote in the upcoming election. We Americans take this oft-repeated mantra as a given, as a basic necessity of an effective government. But seeing that even informed voters have an amateur understanding of the issues facing the country, are we really in a position to decide which policies should be enacted on a national scale? Does the electorate understand the issues on which it votes?
Deaf accessibility at MIT
Last month, I attended MIT’s presidential inauguration hoping to join the celebration and learn more about President Reif. But most of the time, I found myself left out and merely spectating. I was bombarded by incomprehensible information and I was not able to celebrate as much as I wanted. I am one of MIT’s very few functionally deaf students. Ironically, in an inaugural celebration that touted the Institute’s “diversity,” the facilities for deaf accessibility were mostly hit-and-miss.
Mens et Manus … et Voluntas
Students coming to MIT are in for a mind-boggling exposure to volunteerism and hands on learning. Alumni have an obligation to volunteer, and thankfully, at MIT, many do so with zeal. However, volunteerism hardly stops there. It permeates every academic department, laboratory, research center, studio, and administrative program at the Institute. Furthermore, it fosters student idealism.
America deserves better than good enough
If you surf the web, watch television, or are of the rare breed that reads newspapers, you are painfully aware that we recently held a presidential election. And if you have heard any chatter on the candidates and their campaigns, I’m sure you can agree that 2012 was very different from 2008.
‘Genius Asian Egg Donor’ ad is offensive
On Nov. 30, The Tech decided to publish an ad titled “GENIUS ASIAN EGG DONOR.” The ad sought a donor of the Asian race with an exceptional academic record. The ad reeks of privilege and ignorance, as a couple seeks to manufacture its dream baby by placing all hope on a stereotype. We wrote this letter to highlight the racist and sexist roots of the ad, to protest its placement in The Tech, and to expose the creator’s offensive posting.
A student perspective on MIT 2030
Over the past year, the Institute has been releasing “MIT 2030,” its framework for land use and renovation for the next 20 years, and it contains some interesting and ambitious ideas for commercial development on and around the MIT campus. However, behind flowery language of an “innovation district” lie major problems with MIT 2030. In effect, the plan neglects the central mission of the Institute: to “advance knowledge and educate students.”
How MIT is doing it wrong in Kendall
In spite of a severe Cambridge housing crisis, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology plans to build on-campus towers for lease to commercial tenants.
MIT must ensure the vitality of OCW
With the implementation of the sequester, a swath of federal budget cuts, MIT must answer some tough questions. What is our most valuable service to the world? Our research? Our undergraduates? Graduate students? What is our primary responsibility, and what do we value?
Honoring MIT’s fallen
Lobby 10 is the crossroads of our campus. Student groups use it to advocate for causes, advertise for events, and to practice and perform. Despite its active role in student life and high visibility, many often forget that Lobby 10 serves another purpose — it is a war memorial.
MIT 2030: voice your concerns
MIT and the city of Cambridge, we like to think, generally have a beneficial effect on one another, and this happens best when we all work together. The Cambridge City Council is currently considering a re-zoning proposal presented by the MIT Investment Management Company that has the potential to transform Kendall Square more than any other project in decades. If done well, with a sensitivity to the various groups that will be affected, both in the neighborhoods and on your campus, this could be a terrific addition to the city and to the Institute.
DormCon is critical to dorm culture
Disclaimer: Although I am a former member of DormCon, I do not speak for the organization and I have not consulted it before writing this piece.
Dear Non-Bexlians and Non-Bexlietes
You are lucky to have been spared from the time living in Bexley.
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.
MIT should divest from fossil fuels
4,000: The number of people confirmed killed by Typhoon Haiyan, perhaps the most powerful storm ever to make landfall.
When the artist’s brush catches the censor’s eye
One of the defining characteristics of art is its ability to affect people in strikingly different ways. Some might find a painting inspirational; others might find it poignant; still others might find it offensive. As the Supreme Court explained in Cohen v. California, “one man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric.” This is particularly true when an artist attempts to push boundaries. A society dedicated to freedom of expression ought to welcome such work and the potential for thoughtful provocation that it offers. But when unorthodox art triggers controversy on the modern college campus, administrators often take dramatic measures to suppress it.
Are we willing to be honest about ethics?
Nothing would excite me more than to see individuals, institutions, businesses, and governments placing more emphasis on ethics. I applaud MIT President Rafael Reif’s recent article in The Tech “Ethics education at the Institute” requesting that we enhance our ethical awareness. However, as beneficial as placing a higher emphasis on ethics might prove, we must also accept that a keener perception of ethics would place a much greater responsibility on the Institute. The consequence of a serious inquiry into ethics will be a heavy burden to bear.
Protecting religious freedom at MIT
I am a chaplain at MIT, as a well as a rabbi working for Hillel. In case it is not already abundantly clear, I am Jewish.
A bipartisan solution to gun violence — better bullets
Set phasers to stun — technology like Star Trek’s phasers lies under the radar and behind red tape, but it has the potential to solve a problem that has afflicted America for decades: gun violence. Unfortunately, solutions to gun violence discussed in mainstream politics have only brought limited effectiveness and intense partisan gridlock. Fortunately, other solutions have tremendous potential, and they are politically feasible.
Charm School — headed in the wrong direction?
People at MIT, like people anywhere, get together for a variety of reasons: to enjoy each other’s company, to work, to play, to serve the community. The concern that prompts my writing is that Charm School, first organized more than 20 years ago as an enjoyable, playful, service-oriented IAP activity, has, to its detriment, been transformed into an event focusing more than it needs to on job-seeking skills and other manners in the professional world. These include “dining etiquette and table conversation during business dinners” and “effective email in the business world.” Work is only one part of our lives where table manners and email messages are important.
Last May, students living in Bexley Hall were informed that their beloved dorm would be closed and they would have to find new housing. A year later, these students, and the rest of the MIT community, have a great deal on which to reflect.
New hazing policy has concerning implications
Under MIT’s recently overhauled hazing policy in the Mind and Hand Book, I am guilty of hazing students.
Indiscriminate surveillance at MIT
In the Stata Center, the doors to enter the building and then to enter the lab areas are opened by RFID cards (I call them “pox cards”) instead of metal keys. When the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) moved into Stata in 2004, the MIT administration decided, without consulting the personnel of CSAIL, to make the system log which cards are used to open which doors and when.
The gravest threat to Greek life
I am an MIT student, self-declared feminist, and proud sorority woman. I have been given so much as a student, leader, and woman from my sorority. But I’m tired of the inherent sexism present in the Greek system that overarches my sisterhood.
Continuing the conversation
When I first heard about the All Doors Open event, I was a little uncertain. I knew from my work in Student Support Services (S3) that our community was struggling to come to terms with a string of bad news, most recently the on-campus death of Phoebe Wang. We were given fifteen unstructured minutes, time to use however we chose. What would we make of it? My colleagues and I heard that some found the thought and experience of this undefined time awkward, long and intolerable. Others saw it as exactly what they needed.
Supplementing “All Doors Open”
Through the tragedies of last several months, we have often been reminded that MIT is a community that cares, that help is always available, and that seeking help is a sign of strength. And it is true that MIT has many excellent resources. However, it is also true that so many continue to see MIT as a place without a safety net.
Implementing Mens et Manus
On Tuesday, Sept. 30, The Tech’s “Snapshot of the First Year Survey results for Class of 2018” revealed a startling paradox that has gone unmentioned: The Class of 2018 most desires to “Contribute to Science and Innovation” and least cares about “Participating in Politics or Community Affairs.” But I ask: how one can expect his/her contributions to science and innovation to ever see the light of day (or the market) without understanding and participating in politics and community affairs? Let me be clear that I raise this not to fault the Class of 2018 (when we are 18 and fresh from high school there is much to learn in life), but to ask the greater MIT community, particularly our faculty, department heads, deans, and administrators: what does it mean to divorce scientific achievements from participation in public life?
Campus newspapers should be cautious when reporting accusations of cheating
Punishing cheating is not easy. Academic misconduct varies in severity, and accusations of it can be wrong. Purposeful leaders resolve these difficulties by trial and error. Over time, they cultivate a sense of fairness and a shame at unfair advantage. Fair ways of meting out punishment follow.
The future of books in Hayden Library
This fall, several articles have acquainted the MIT community with ongoing plans to redesign the library system. One effect of the planned changes will be a decrease in the space for print collections, requiring many books to be sent off-campus. We write for a group of linguists, faculty and students in Course 24, whose research and teaching relies on Hayden Library’s books, and on their immediate, on-the-shelf availability. We want to raise questions about how priorities are set and decisions made in planning the redesign of the libraries; how the community has been kept informed of these developments; and how library officials view the mission of the library in a research university like ours.
The dangerous values behind the Lewin lecture takedown
With luck, the world will frown on the example set by MIT in taking down Walter Lewin’s physics lectures from OpenCourseWare.
Transforming MIT culture
“Suicide watch might be necessary.”
The role of gender in the MIT Greek system
When freshmen walk onto campus in August, they are met with two tracks for Greek life: fraternities and sororities. While some will happen upon the co-ed options, most will follow paths dictated by their gender. This is at a time when even most of our dorm bathrooms, for example, are co-ed.
Gender-inclusive housing at MIT
While the phrase “gender-inclusive housing” is tossed around somewhat regularly, many people are still unsure about what it exactly means or why, frankly, we care about it at all.
MIT’s insult to parenthood
Last week, Lorraine Goffe-Rush, VP of Human Resources at MIT, announced the Institute’s new policy on parental care. She wrote in an email on Tuesday that MIT is “pleased to announce” that the Institute will provide “up to 5 days of Paid Parental Leave to eligible mothers and fathers,” within 4 months of birth or adoption. Goffe-Rush added, “We are delighted to have this opportunity to further expand MIT’s benefits to new parents in our community.”
The role of Residential Life Area Directors
The tragedies at MIT in recent months gave a new sense of urgency to the discussion about mental health support for all members of the community. A crucial part of undergraduate student life at MIT is the dorm experience and the unique and diverse residential communities we pride ourselves on encouraging. In 2012, the Division of Student Life (DSL) introduced the Residential Life Area Director (RLAD) position to the existing dorm structures on campus.
Refocusing the Climate Change Conversation
This week, the initial phase of the MIT Climate Change Conversation will conclude with the release of a committee report weighing the pros and cons of actions proposed by the MIT community. A focus of that report will be on divestment of the Institute’s endowment from fossil fuels. Without the early, critical efforts of Fossil Free MIT (FFMIT), the energetic, campus-wide discussion of MIT’s options for climate action would never have begun.
An FSILG Village would hurt MIT’s Greek system
Over the past year, there has been discussion about transitioning MIT fraternities and sororities stationed in Boston into a “Greek Village” located on West Campus grounds in Cambridge. This concept of an FSILG Village has moved quickly amongst FSILG officials and MIT administrators but has not gained support within the actual Greek community. According to a survey reported on by The Tech, “Of 80 total alumni and student representatives, only five alumni ‘expressed high interest in the project,’ and only five students thought it was at all likely that their living group would be willing to move into an FSILG village.”
Islam and the West
Last month, the MIT Center for International Studies hosted a talk by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Raised a Muslim, she witnessed abuse of women in Muslim communities. She renounced her religion and became an activist for women’s rights. Her criticisms of Islam led to death threats, and her courage was recognized by several awards. Her latest book, Heretic, calls for a fundamental reformation of Islam.
MIT’s Climate Plan doesn’t add up. So we’re sitting-in.
We write from the office doorstep of MIT’s President, where on October 22, we began a sit-in in response to the President’s announcement of MIT’s Plan for Action on Climate Change (hereafter ‘Plan’). As President Reif acknowledged, the Plan originally “emerged in response to” Fossil Free MIT’s ongoing call, since April 2013, for MIT to divest its now $13.5 billion endowment from fossil fuel companies. Here, we share our take on MIT’s Plan and explain why it has left us no choice but to respectfully plant ourselves, around-the-clock, along MIT’s corridor of power to call for a bolder approach.
Weighing in on the proposed changes to the STEM OPT Extension
MIT is home to a large number of international students on F-1 student visas. In the 2014-2015 academic year, 42 percent of the graduate student body was composed of international students. Most of these students apply for the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program after graduation in order to work in the U.S. in their field of study. Every international student who completes a post-secondary degree in the U.S. on an F-1 visa is eligible for 12 months of OPT. Since 2008, those who complete a degree in a STEM field have also qualified for a one-time 17-month extension of OPT. This extension, however, was recently challenged in court by the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, and this August, the District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the STEM OPT Extension on the grounds of procedural deficiency. The court order is set to take effect in February 2016.
Alcohol abuse, illegal drugs, and misinformation
Earlier this week, members of the MIT community found in their inboxes an email from Chancellor Barnhart. Immediately beneath the ominous subject line of “Alcohol abuse, illegal drugs and our community” were the expected exhortations against binge drinking and drug use. This time, however, these words came backed by evidence. To quote the email, “The results of the 2015 Healthy Minds Study and 2014 Community Attitudes on Sexual Assault survey show the direct — and negative — links between substance abuse and student health and safety.” Included helpfully were also hyperlinks to these two studies, as well as one to the MIT “Statement on Drug-free Campus and Workplace Policies,” which contains, among other things, a list of “selected drugs and their effects.” In short, a bevy of material to support a seemingly obvious claim.
What’s best for you
Editor’s note: This article discusses issues relating to mental health, forced psychiatric treatment, and sexual assault. The writer is kept anonymous due to the nature of this content.
Mens et … mens?
The very first class I attended at MIT was 7.012, four and a half years ago in the fall of 2011. I remember how excited my fellow freshmen felt in Maseeh dining that morning, how tightly the Infinite was packed with students finding new classrooms, and how crowded 26-100 was once my friends and I got there. But looking back on that first class, I cannot actually recall much of what the professor said. Or really much from any other 7.012 lecture. Or from 18.02 lectures that fall or 5.111 lectures the following spring. Why is that? I have a fairly good memory, and in four years it shouldn’t seem reasonable for me to forget the material. I suspect that I don’t remember what was taught in these three classes because all of them were rigid lecture-based classes. Although these were core freshman science classes, there was little to no student engagement through hands-on learning.
MIT students examine Easter
Editor’s Note: Professor Anne McCants of the History Department contributed to the editing process of this article.
Reporting harassment at MIT
Over the course of 2010-2011, while I was a graduate student at MIT, I struggled to find help with harassment. I encountered both bureaucratic ineptitude and a culture of denial and silence that made the situation needlessly difficult for me, my advisor, and others in my lab. I am writing because I hope that by sharing my experience and insights into how MIT’s system can fail, I can help those working to improve it. While I understand that there have been some changes on campus since I graduated three years ago, I think MIT still needs to improve the way it handles harassment on campus.
MIT and the climate challenge
A plan for action is for MIT an essential early step. Following up now with concrete action, and ramping up commitments as opposed to letting them dwindle, will be a momentous task.
No loopholes in protecting civil rights
Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill that would represent a crucial step forward for transgender rights in the state.
Browsers’ bid for relevance is turning them into time-bombs
The growth of mobile devices and the apps that fuel them has been followed by a decline in browsers, locking more and more of the Internet into silos controlled by giant corporations that love “disruption” when they're the ones doing it, but not so much when they’re the ones being disrupted. The browser ecosystem is weaker than it’s ever been, and that’s made it ripe for predation — and you’ll find no better example of it than something happening under MIT’s own roof.
The socioeconomic status of transgender people in India
Growing up in India, we often came across “Hijras,” people who we understood were somehow labeled as different.
MIT Democrats for Hillary Clinton
We want to vote for and work with someone who is dedicated to furthering the progress of the past eight years; someone who has given her life to public service and continues making history
We need fossil fuel divestment
This October marked the one-year anniversary of the release of MIT’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), which seeks to use the university’s expertise in research, education, and outreach to address global warming.
Hope as a political engine
Hope may produce temporary disappointment, but it was and is and will continue to be our most powerful engine for progress.
Inclusive language in MIT classrooms
Should MIT try to dissuade usage of sexist and colonialist terms in our curriculum? If so, how should they go about this?
Threats to science and what MIT can do
Donald Trump will be the first president to completely disregard data and blatantly devalue expert judgment. If the MIT administration wants to justify its decision to engage in its fight against climate change, then this is the opportune moment to do it.
After the bubble burst
In the months since the bubble burst, MIT could have taken a nonpartisan position that attempted to broaden the community’s perspective and to encourage disappointed students to make the best out of the situation. Instead, MIT’s unproductive official response has reconstructed the divisive bubble and alienated many on campus.
Beyond the bubble
Instead of retreating into the comfort of their bubbles, people are taking action. They have realized that although Trump may be the nominal leader of the country, he is not their leader.
The invisible families of MIT
Spouses and families support MIT graduate students on their journey towards a Ph.D. Spouses help hold the family together amid long hours in the lab, conferences away, and weeks in the field. Yet to MIT as an institution, we do not exist. We are ghosts, hardly counted, with no data on us in one place.
Not all medical leaves turn into horror stories
Going on leave was a massive force of change and improvement on my life.
Dealing with mental illness at MIT
Editor's Note: This article discusses issues relating to mental health. The writer's identity is kept anonymous due to the nature of its content.
An excerpt from a student’s reflection on the technical education
In February, I attended a discussion with Chancellor Barnhart regarding the future of the MIT education. Our guiding questions: What bold experiments in education should MIT pursue? What should a college education entail? I was prompted by the discussion to reflect on the character of the education I have received. Intent on understanding the most fundamental aspects of nature, I came to MIT seeking an education in physics. I will certainly leave knowing much more physics than when I arrived. However, I have received, or more accurately, stumbled into a second education—one that I did not seek because I was not aware I needed it. I now believe this second education, which I will call my “human education,” is significantly more important than my technical one; and moreover, that it has benefited me in a deeper and more serious way. My motive for writing, then, is to clarify what I mean by this human education and to explain why it is particularly needful at MIT. I hope my peculiar experience may help others address the questions Chancellor Barnhart posed.
Monetary incentives skew Career Fair towards Course 6
Career Fair must be managed by an organization motivated by a mission to serve the entire undergraduate population, and not rooted in monetary incentives, so that CF will be better aligned with the professional development needs of MIT undergraduates.
Keep it weird, keep it awesome
Numerous MIT alumni, including myself, are rushing to protect Senior House from the recent attacks on the dorm and its community. The Senior House community and set of values were a constant source of joy, belonging, and refuge for me and for so many others, during my years at MIT.
SIPB: IS&T’s rollout of NAT creates more problems than it solves
SIPB believes that access to a virtually unlimited pool of public IPv4 addresses is a privilege that tremendously enhances the value of an MIT education, both for students learning to build new internet services and for students who use those services. As such, we advocate for a full rollback of NAT deployment on campus networks.
The Cambridge-MIT Exchange: an ungraceful end to an era
After hearing news of the program's end, a few alumni of the exchange are rallying to revive the program; however, their years of removal from the program and its flaws shield them from the ways in which the program is unfair and, at times, harmful to MIT students.
Making a pledge for the climate with our careers
We, as MIT-trained individuals, are future leaders. Both in our careers and our personal lives, we will “hack the world” using our minds, hands, and hearts to solve the world’s greatest challenges.
The case for MIT graduate student apartments
Starting this year, MIT’s investment arm, MITIMCO, is undertaking a new development near Kendall Square which will bring in well over 10,000 workers. Jobs are good, but new workers will make housing in the Cambridge area even more scarce. We need the MIT student body to take a stand: we should not bring new workers to Cambridge without providing more housing for graduate students.
Please vote Nov. 7
When I was a student at MIT, almost no one voted in municipal elections; they seemed so inconsequential. After I left MIT, I was surprised to find that participating in municipal elections has a direct impact on my life and a much greater impact than national elections.
There will be no war
It is far too easy nowadays to become overwhelmed with all the strife and conflict worldwide. On all outlets of media, from CNN to Facebook, we find ourselves presented with disaster after disaster, crisis after crisis, war after war. And yet the last fifteen years have been some of the safest the Earth has ever seen.
SIPB: net neutrality matters
A week from now, on December 14, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote to dismantle net neutrality rules. Unless you are an Internet Service Provider, the end of net neutrality rules is bad news.
Why Pilot 2021 is everyone’s problem
When I visited MIT during CPW, I was confused by the students’ usage of the word “culture,” especially with respect to dorms. To me, a dorm was nothing more than a residence, a space where there were twin size beds your feet would hang off the end of, where you wore slippers in the showers. I especially did not understand places like East Campus and Senior House, where there were murals and dyed hair and loud music blaring in the courtyard. These people all seemed to be trying too hard to be scary and weird (and it worked, I was pretty scared), and I had simply wanted to live somewhere clean and mildly friendly. Whatever this “culture” thing entailed, I did not want to be a part of it. I ended up living in Next for all four years of MIT; I lived there because it seemed clean and mildly friendly.
Student leaders respond to Pilot 2021
Last week, Chancellor Barnhart told The Tech that “MIT students” would be housed in Senior House this Fall, but could make no guarantees beyond this vague statement. Below this article on The Tech homepage was a story about the large decline in senior gift donations this academic year, fueled by student frustrations over a lack of transparency and student input in recent student life decisions at the Institute. With the revelation of this newest closed-door decision, it seems clear that MIT has yet to abandon this trend of limited student engagement that may further exacerbate the course of declining donation rates.
Why is Arab violence taken as a given?
On Dec. 6, 2017, President Trump announced that America officially acknowledges Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and would eventually move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Referring to this as “acknowledging the obvious,” Trump explained that Israel is a sovereign state, recognized internationally and by the U.S., with the right to determine its own capital. In his declaration, Trump reiterated that such a move has no bearing on the city’s status under any peace agreement.
Not-so-Merry Christmas in Jerusalem
There was no Christmas tree put up in Jerusalem this holiday season. In fact, it has been some time since a Christmas tree was put up in Jerusalem.
Climate change and the terrifying cost of being young
The economic decisions we make today must account for both the future and immediate impacts to ensure my generation inherits an economy marked by prosperity rather than climate chaos.
MIT, you’ve got commitment issues
People, institutions, and the relationships within all grow and change over time. We can’t be afraid of that; in fact, we should embrace it. Perhaps in the best relationships, partners grow alongside one another, committing to both give and take in a mutual exchange built on reciprocal trust and respect.
#pick8: Fighting for Massachusetts’s prisoners
Not only will your interactions with these inmates help bring “a sense of normalcy” to their lives and help their development, but they will also challenge your own ideas of what is normal and help you develop various aspects of your life.
Response to Jeremy Poindexter: On conversation
“Conversation is the missing element for sustainable human progress. I haven’t heard/had a real conversation on diversity, climate or mental health at MIT, which worries me.”
Fear and loathing at Pig Roast
Maybe, after a few years, Senior Haus will become an ancient MIT myth; the recent ex-denizens and alums its faithful bards, reciting epic stories and poems to all who wish to lend an ear.
Biking is a relatively dangerous mode of transportation in Cambridge — learn about some potential ways to make it safer.
Where is the humor in hunger?
The 2018 Class Council should not have joked about food insecurity.
Pass/No Record falls short
P/NR engenders bad habits for freshmen and a mindset that is damaging in the long run. It's more than just grades: P/NR is a culture. But there is a solution.
Hook-up culture has done a disservice to college students by undermining our ability to experience romantic love fully.
The importance of MIT’s telemedicine and telehealth class
MIT's "Telemedicine and Telehealth for Enhancing Global Health" class teaches students valuable information about healthcare accessibility — and it's at risk of not being offered again.
Understanding the Palestinian struggle is not difficult
"Dialogue" is not what is needed in the Palestinian struggle.
Voting in the Democratic Primary? The MIT Dems endorse these candidates
Big political issues, such as housing affordability, public transportation, and climate change, affect everybody, whether you’re an MIT student or a local Cambridge resident. In this piece, the MIT Democrats outline which Massachusetts primary candidates they think will do the best job in promoting the public’s interests.
Fighting for safer biking and better transit in Cambridge
The city of Cambridge has just released a plan to improve conditions along Mass Ave for bikers, pedestrians, and buses. However, further changes are still necessary to support biking safety and public transportation.
How was your (hot) summer?
You may be understandably cynical about the prospects for real action [on climate change], but remember, we’ve logged some recent massive successes on other fronts. We pulled 1 billion people out of extreme poverty. We’ve gone a long way toward healing the ozone hole. We essentially shut down acid rain, and more. We can solve climate change.
What’s in a name?
Columbus Day celebrates a problematic individual who displaced and enslaved large populations of indigenous people. The holiday should instead honor those people who were hurt by colonization.
Words of power, words of courage
Wherever we are, wherever those in our lives are, or wherever those in the public sphere are with the retelling of their unspeakable truths, let us hold those stories with dignity and honor.
How America’s approach to the North Korea conflict is broken, and what’s been missing
The U.S. needs to take a stronger approach if it wants to contain the threat posed by North Korea to the rest of the world.
The importance of theoretical research
A contrary opinion to, "We should do things not because they are hard, but because they are important," from the article, "How (not) to spend one billion dollars." Sometimes, those hard questions are indeed worth exploring.
Massachusetts needs an endowment tax
A modest endowment tax on private universities would grant Massachusetts the funding necessary to improve its education and transportation systems without impeding universities' growth.
Grad students suffer from lagging support
While many support networks exist for undergraduates at MIT, resources for grad students are lagging and lacking.
Protecting transgender rights
Every vote counts this year. Vote yes on 3 to make sure all trans-identifying people are guaranteed the right to live with dignity and without the fear of discrimination.
The necessity of prison abolition
Prisons are effectively re-institutionalizing slavery: it is a form of "neoslavery."
The next generation of bioengineers is not allowed into the U.S.
Though iGEM was founded at MIT, the competition needs to be hosted in a different country in light of the U.S.’s current immigration policies.
What the College of Computing can do for both MIT and society
History has shown us that science has the potential to do more harm than good, and the College of Computing is a testament to MIT's responsibility to make sure it is used properly.
When hate strikes
The Black Students' Union's hack in lobby 7 was vandalized with a swastika. Students refuse to let this symbol of hate diminish their message about the importance of black history at MIT.
Shunned by Harvard, feted by MIT
Subramanian Swamy, a member of India's current ruling party with a controversial past, is currently set to speak at the MIT India Conference. Students and faculty are calling on the Institute to disinvite him from the event.
From mutual selection to mutual exclusion
Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart and DSL Dean Suzy Nelson's plans will remove mutual selection and threaten to diminish dorm culture.
Celebrating war criminals at MIT’s ‘ethical’ College of Computing
In lieu of celebrating the founding of the Schwarzman College of Computing, the MIT community should attend a different event organized by members of the MIT community to discuss the ethical issues of the college.
College of Computing working groups are missing experts on ethics
It disturbs me that the strong language of announcements about the College of Computing, like “the need for bold action, at scale and with speed,” appears to contradict what I hear from graduate students in EECS whose department and/or advisors assure them nothing will change.
The Yemeni war and its implications for the U.S.
The recommendations made by Congress are not ultimately out of place. Their premise is to limit the devastation occurring in Yemen and to rebuke the actions of the Saudi Arabian crown prince; however, they will soon find that these goals may unfortunately act in opposition to one another.
A history of broken promises in the New Vassar dorm design
A look into how the DSL failed to uphold its promises on the New Vassar dorm.
Ethical change requires more than a billion dollars
What the MIT administration, faculty, and students can do to address the ethical concerns of the College of Computing.
Data, inclusion, and the DSL
Data is much better at finding problems than solutions; data offers a single path of making changes to measured variables in attempt to relocate data points to within the acceptable or normal range, as defined by DSL.
Rejection, boycotts: moving forward with mutual selection
Amidst the growing number of housing controversies that seem to jeopardize student culture without regard for student opinion, some students have been trying to take matters into their own hands to get the administration’s attention. Among these plans was a boycott of CPW to protest the new “design exercise,” which imposes restrictions on mutual selection and allows squatting for freshmen during the rooming process. While it is frustrating that the administration seems to hold little regard for student input, the CPW boycott and the narrative around housing changes have been binary and ineffective for all parties. To shed some light on the issue, I’ll share some of my experiences with REX, thoughts on the process, and suggestions for the administration and ourselves to sow a better conversation around housing changes.
Undergrad and grad students: take the AAU survey on sexual misconduct
It has been five years since MIT first conducted a campus-wide survey on attitudes towards sexual assault and misconduct, so some students may not know or remember how MIT responded to its past findings. The 2014 Campus Attitudes on Sexual Assault Survey (CASA) results offered a great starting point for making data-driven decisions about policies, education, and outreach efforts on campus, including increased transparency and support for students.
The 2020 Democratic Primary: How to choose a President
Nineteen democrats are running for president in 2020, and more could still enter the race. This presents a wonderful tradeoff. We need options if we’re going to elect the best person. However, too many options causes choice paralysis. As a consequence, most of us will neglect to choose who we vote for until there are fewer options.
What makes MIT unique?
My response in the textbox at the end of the Enrolled Student Survey:
The realities of climate change
We are at a point where complete avoidance isn’t plausible. The strides we make to combat climate change now shift from total prevention to increasing resilience to its effects, and mitigating further practices that contribute to overall warming.
Lack of ambition for next year’s Climate Symposia
Been there, done that. No need to discourse at large on these hackneyed topics.
Out of the cave
When writing, you gradually come to see the contours of your idea. What began as a vague homogeneous blob of a thought comes into focus as a set of distinct facts which you travel between to form your narrative or argument.
Why Joi Ito needs to resign
I am calling for the immediate resignation of MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito because of his deep connections with Epstein, his lack of leadership explaining his involvement, and the lack of transparency about the extent of his interactions with Epstein.
Joi is gone, but billionaire culture remains
The fallout from Epstein funding should push us to consider what needs to change not only at MIT, but in regards to wealth in America.
Join the Global Climate Strike this Friday
MIT students should join the Global Climate Strike and take part in the worldwide movement that is mobilizing to combat the climate crisis.
MIT’s Climate Inaction Plan
The MIT community must truly be engaged with redefining MIT’s research priorities and imagining a more sustainable campus. Those changes will have profound impacts on everybody’s life here.
Why I am #ClimateStriking instead of attending the career fair
The current climate and ecological crisis calls for nothing short of rebellion. The least I can do is to take a stand against those stealing my future, our future, and the future of humanity.
A call for radical transparency over MIT’s relationship to Epstein
The Reif-Epstein matter will remain swirled in controversy and conjecture until MIT makes a transparent release of all emails, documents, and minutes related to Epstein.
Two donors, two deaths, two responses
We must be concerned with the impression made on our students in condemning one donor for personal crimes and entirely overlooking the destructive transgressions of another, especially when the latter involves disinformation and attacks on science — the very antithesis of MIT’s mission as an educational institution.
How MIT makes work-life balance impossible
The criteria for success while juggling classes, qualifying exams, and research were not clear, and I was led to believe I would fail if I didn’t perform well in all of my commitments.
Liberal outrage and white supremacy: the case of Epstein
The silence on these issues, from many appalled by Epstein, is explained by a white supremacist logic that doesn’t see the university’s routine operation — which is complicit with the misery of the poor and non-white in the name of American empire — as sufficient cause for outrage.
Now is the time for MIT to divest from fossil fuels
By divesting from fossil fuels, MIT can send a strong message that extracting and burning fossil fuels is not just normal commerce — it is deeply immoral and unjust, and it is killing people all over the world. Divestment would be not only the right thing to do, but also a highly effective strategy for action on the climate crisis.
Graduate student mental health is in crisis
Graduate students serve an indispensable role in MIT’s community. We teach and mentor undergraduates, generate new knowledge through our research, secure funding through grant writing, produce journal articles, and foster community. However, despite our passion and dedication, our work at MIT can exact a heavy toll on our physical and mental well-being. This is not how it has to be.
MIT Democrats’ endorsements for the upcoming Cambridge City Council election
Although students make up around 20 percent of the population of Cambridge, we are woefully underrepresented by Cambridge’s City Council, where eight of nine members are over the age of 50 and do not give student concerns the consideration we deserve. This November, as all of City Council stands for re-election, we have a chance to change that.
The case for fossil fuel divestment over engagement
MIT Divest, a new movement on campus, is calling on MIT to take leadership in addressing the climate crisis by divesting from fossil fuel companies, detailing in an article two weeks ago why divestment should be the path forward.
Why is taking Epstein’s money wrong?
"Academia is the safe space for discussing ideas. It’s where difficult conversations can happen, where we allow for mistakes. Where we extend good faith to our strongest critics."
The struggle to democratize MIT
“Those who make unethical decisions for personal and institutional gain continue to do so without accountability, enabled by MIT’s entrenched system of top-down, closed-door decision-making."
Seth Lloyd should not be teaching at MIT
If Seth Lloyd is looking to be told by students when he has done wrong, here it is: by continuing to teach, by continuing to advise undergraduate and graduate students, by continuing to be a part of our scientific community, Seth Lloyd is continuing to do harm. Seth Lloyd should not remain at MIT.
MIT’s policies force many graduate students to live in poverty
Imagine the outcomes if MIT admins would open their eyes to the realities of students' lives rather than constantly asking them to open their hearts for this mental health officer or at that counselling service office.
What was missing at the Climate Policy Symposium
Little was discussed on a major reason behind the ineffectiveness of government action, a factor that should be in any discussions related to climate policy — the climate disinformation campaigns pursued by fossil fuel companies.
The case of Seth Lloyd is a microcosm of the systemic problems at MIT
We will not wait a day longer. We will not wait for these conversations to happen weeks from now, in a back room, on terms dictated by the very people who committed the relevant offenses.
Seth Lloyd should continue teaching at MIT
How can MIT expect to avoid catastrophes like this Epstein situation in the future, if it incentivizes faculty not to confront and apologize for any moral failings they feel they have been involved with?
Moving Latin America forward: how to accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence
MIT is arguably the most ideal place to kickstart the development of wide-reaching initiatives in AI that would socially benefit and boost growth of Latin America.
Challenges of graduate student medical leave
“I did not realize that the equivalent of S3 for graduate students is woefully inadequate.”
Why are relationships so hard at MIT?
“Somehow, though it boasts Nobel laureates, CEOs, and some of the most brilliant minds on the face of the earth, MIT has missed one of the most crucial tenets of life.”
On Fossil Fuel Divestment Day, MIT still refuses to act
“MIT has not divested its $17 billion endowment from its fossil fuel holdings, which MIT Divest is fighting for.”
MIT: world renowned research institute or luxury developer?
“MIT’s proposed rent hikes do nothing to relieve the rent burden of those living off campus, while actively worsening the lives of those on campus.”
Does merit matter in America?
“Preferential access becomes a self-perpetuating pyramid scheme as long as alumni have children.”
Beavers for Bernie: four stories, one message
“Unlike other countries, ours responds to the atrocities of neoliberalism by organizing a movement with egalitarian and inclusive guiding principles.”
Introducing an Institute-wide referendum at MIT
Formation of opinions through mechanisms such as discussion panels, community forums, and so on will only give a partial view and reflect only the opinion of a small and often vocal subset of MIT.
When the Japanese language is no longer “kawaii”
In using words chosen by those in power, language reflects a world of how the authority wants the group to be, consequently shaping the very group that uses that language.
In response to MIT’s decision to send students home
From freshman learning communities to extracurricular student groups, activities, and teams, the MIT campus fosters so much opportunity for enrichment, learning, support, stress relief, and community outside of traditional academic courses. Many of these communities consist largely or solely of undergraduates, and have needed to go on “pause” for the rest of the semester.
Now is the time for community, solidarity, and love
So even as we close public places, ranging from churches to restaurants, movie theaters to sports games, as part of necessary social distancing measures, we must not close off our hearts.
On the coronavirus stimulus bill
Hopefully for some college students who are just entering the political sphere, the coronavirus crisis and the way our (democratic and less democratic) institutions respond, including but not limited to the recent stimulus bill, serve to bring them into the fold.
It’s time to expand absentee ballot access
The COVID-19 pandemic likely played a major role in causing reduced turnout.
Vote Fiona Chen and Yara Komaiha for UA president and vice president
Chen and Komaiha have the most cohesive vision for what MIT should look like and how to implement that change. Their vision for MIT is one in which students hold real power in decision-making processes and have the support systems necessary to voice their opinions.
Student security proposals disregarded by DSL, HRS
The Division of Student Life (DSL) and Housing and Residential Services (HRS) recently decided to overhaul the security of East Campus. The plan they designed rejected six months of collaborative work and incorporated minimal student contribution. This is not an acceptable model for student-administration relations.
War criminals fit right in at MIT
At a university that invites trusted partners such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon to Career Fair in order to direct students deeper into the U.S. war machine, it is perhaps fitting that MIT graduates will be sent off into the world with warm anecdotes and hardy life lessons from SEAL training.
Anti-Asian racism: the neglected strain of COVID-19
Why is American-ness something we have to prove? Will handing out masks wearing red, white, and blue truly erase any hostility? What about after the virus? All of this begs the question, what if the virus originated from a European country?
Recognizing the privilege of white America
How to solve the problem? We need to punish the guilty, but the solution also will require white Americans transitioning outside their albino comfort zones and deliberately seeking opportunities to socially integrate.
MIT’s recycling rate in FY 2020 was 36%: here’s how we do better
The general collection method of recyclables on MIT’s campus is single-stream recycling, where all recyclable goods are accepted in the same waste stream, regardless of their material.
Our strategic plan for the strategic plan
We are demanding reforms to graduate admissions and faculty hiring procedures; concrete department- and Institute-level support for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives; transparency and accountability for bad actors; and material support for all graduate students at MIT, including the social sciences which are an important source of anti-oppressive research.
MIT’s impact will be determined by its humanistic pursuits
The opportunity to demonstrate or abdicate leadership in this role presents itself each time MIT responds or neglects the challenges facing citizens across the nation and the globe.
MIT Democrats endorses Ed Markey for the United States Senate
With his strong voting record, his years of dedicated service, and his active role in spearheading progressive policy, Ed Markey is the voice Massachusetts needs, and MIT Democrats proudly endorses his candidacy for U.S. Senate.
Every department deserves diversity
We believe that every department should have its own DEI Officer, who will be empowered to investigate department practices and climate, to meaningfully engage the community, and to push for change where problems are found.
The MechE qualifying exam fails women
Numerous studies have shown that there is gender bias in STEM. MIT is likely no exception.
Finding human territory in a fractured world
It is only by understanding each other, particularly those of us who are not adequately represented, that we can truly calibrate the factors that make up a just and safe campus and world.
A call to non-violent activism
Resorting to violence becomes tangible evidence we lack the courage and intelligence to resolve a conflict by nonviolent means.
How conversations flipped my political views
Finding the courage to engage with ignorance can make an enormous impact; it certainly did for me.
MIT Divest’s response to the Climate Grand Challenges
Climate change is not a crisis that will wait several years. Long-term investments into mitigation and adaptation are valuable, but not at the expense of immediate action.
Bringing sustainability to the 2020 fall career fair
You have the ability to ensure that your values align with a company’s sustainability practices this fall career fair. In a collaboration headed by the Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI), the new Career Fair Sustainability Initiative is sharing information with students about registered companies’ greenhouse gas emissions and their environmental commitments. By emphasizing the importance of climate-oriented corporate responsibility, ESI hopes employers’ sustainability commitments will appeal to more students, whether they're passionate about climate change or not.
The professor is always right
MIT is fully aware of abuse, harassment, and mistreatment of its graduate students. It is doing nothing to change it.
Speak up to save Armenian lives
Our dearest wish right now is for the fighting to stop, but that won’t happen until the corrupt, authoritarian Azerbaijani regime calling for violence is stopped.
Stop telling URMs to wait for change
URM students are suffering today. We shouldn’t bank all of our hopes for a just MIT on a multi-year process when there are many simple changes that can be implemented immediately.
Trump’s refusal to concede could spark a crisis
At this point, it’s an open secret that Donald Trump is probably planning to claim victory in the 2020 election, whether or not he wins. What’s worse, a large swath of the population will likely have his back either way.
The “Soro Soke” generation of Nigerians
Even in our sorrow, there is an undeniable truth that many of the youth that have taken to the streets during these protests — whether it be the Nigerian streets or the Twitter streets incessantly tweeting with the hashtag #EndSARS — have woken up.
Autism research from an Autistic perspective
The suffering I have experienced has been because of misunderstanding, rejection, judgement, isolation, and abuse. The suffering I have experienced has been because of how others perceive and treat me as an Autistic person.
It’s time to connect ourselves with our planet
Planetary health focuses on understanding the human health implications of the rapid transformation of our earth's ecosystems due to anthropogenic changes in our environment. This emerging, transdisciplinary field illustrates the reliance of human well-being on that of the planet.
Making a better world? Define better.
We believe there needs to be fundamental change to address ethics and the social implications of science and technology in everything we do at MIT. Leadership statements are a start, but not nearly enough.
Donald Trump is who he said he was
The 2020 Olympics may have been postponed, but that hasn’t stopped the mental gymnastics of many former Trump-backers as they bend backwards to save their reputations from sinking along with the now-disgraced administration.
Reporting on rising food insecurity, unemployment, and infection: local organizations confront American maladies
“There are so many fallouts that are going to hit the people who are always hit hardest, even harder,” says Cauble-Johnson. “The chickens have come home to roost here.”
New year, new MITIMCo: MIT’s chance to lead in socially responsible investing
In 2020, the MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCo) joined Climate Action 100+ (CA100+), a global investor-led engagement initiative to ensure that the world’s largest corporate emitters take necessary climate action. Among our peer institutions, only Harvard and Brown are part of CA100+. We commend MIT for joining the ranks of more than 545 investors committed to admirable efforts on climate.
How merit-based raises hurt DEI
Recently, MIT Human Resources announced that it will be instituting across-the-board 3% raises for all staff making under $75,000 in 2021. This is a welcome reversal of a policy that MIT announced last April, suspending all merit-based raises for the year due to financial concerns related to COVID. According to MIT’s 2020 Quality of Life Survey (conducted before the pandemic), 65% of staff reported increased cost of living as a source of stress, and 61% said the same about the cost of housing alone. With the additional financial pressure of the pandemic, the wage freeze threatened to push staff even deeper into economic precarity.
Reimagining our MIT curriculum
Each year, hundreds of MIT students graduate lacking a fundamental understanding of the effects that anti-Black racism and other systems of oppression have on our present-day technologies, even our own decision-making.
Don’t be surprised by the administration’s decision on Seth Lloyd
The clear conspiracy on all levels of the Institute to knowingly accept money from a child sex trafficker has been justified and downplayed in a variety of ways.
Climate Action Plan: Why you need to care and the importance of student voices
A number of steps are being taken by student leaders to advance the conversation and consideration of the student proposals, as well as to educate and consider the broader student body.
The friend of racism
Almost every day at MIT, I hear the words “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” or DEI. What becomes apparent is that we do not know anymore what we are saying and where we are going. Language should not stop at halfway attempts to capture an idea. Justice is the goal.
The climate is changing, and so must MIT
The 2021 CAP must contain ambitious, appropriate goals that align with current climate science and include clearly defined actionables. Our responsibility is to talk, sing, write, protest, and ultimately encourage MIT to descend from its perch of privileged ignorance, open its eyes to this accelerating, alarming crisis, and act.
MIT should guarantee funding for graduate students amid the pandemic
Now, the pandemic is exacerbating these long-running financial pain points. Before COVID-19, degree timelines were already crunched. Now, with pandemic delays, students face even more time before completion, with even less financial support from MIT.
Understanding the way silencing happens is paramount if we are to move toward unity, justice, and appreciation of the critical insights we all bring to bear in the advancement of the spaces we have been gifted to occupy.
The cloak of racism
Just because it takes critical thinking to use language which adequately reaches for the truth, does not mean we should give up or sacrifice the right words for a sound bite or quick answer.
In the United States, de jure (and subsequent de facto) prohibition of teaching both reading and writing to its enslaved population (called ‘Black’) was both ubiquitous and fatally enforced. This inhumane (and racist) practice resulted in many unwritten stories and silenced voices of the enslaved African population.
In reflection of MIT’s 160th birthday approaching this Saturday, I have been pondering what has become of the school founded by a slaveholder in 1861. Thus, I have been pondering this plan.
Towards a substantive and meaningful DEI strategic action plan
We ask, where do senior leadership see themselves in this plan, other than taking credit for its creation? And will that plan materially improve the lives of those at MIT whom this plan was supposed to serve?
Addressing academic inequity at MIT through grade transparency
Allowing students to know where they stand in their classes, where they may be going wrong, and how they can improve their performance is crucial to their learning process.
In the past year, it has become even more difficult to perform regularly in classes, due to the pandemic and the stress and grief surrounding the horrifying racial injustices we have seen against the Black and Asian communities.
#StopAsianHate: A call to action for the MIT community
For far too long, MIT has excused racism, fetishization, and anti-Asian sentiment within the Institute. We must begin to acknowledge that these issues cannot be divorced from our campus.
Social innovation — a corporate revolution or lip service?
Flagships in technology, finance, and fossil fuel industries have all promised to join society’s struggle against climate change, racism, rising economic inequality, and social disparities.
I stand in solidarity with you. My heart longs for you. I know what it is to be oppressed.
Palestinian academics share the tragic reality of life under occupation
Eleyan adds, “For a moment, I sat there thinking only of the other victims my age, who also had big dreams of the future. I wondered if I would be next.”
The issue with preaching kindness: a response to Institute-wide communications
We need to go beyond “deliberat[ing] how we treat each other” and internalize the urgency of our responsibility to address the foundational issues that allow incidents such as this to occur.
Crossing the line
I want to instead focus on what I see as the more serious problem at hand that gives place for racist acts of this kind to manifest: borders.
With a union, graduate working conditions become an institutional priority
By taking decisive collective action and forming a union, graduate students are making our research and working conditions a priority for the vast resources of the Institute.
Why we do not need a graduate student union at MIT
MIT knows that we know best which issues are important to us and shares our goal of improving the holistic graduate student experience as much as possible within their financial constraints.
MIT Democrats endorses candidates for the Cambridge City Council and Boston mayoral race
This November, in the Cambridge City Council race and the Boston Mayor’s race, we have a chance to make our voices heard as MIT students and elect local representatives that better reflect our generation, diverse backgrounds, and the issues that matter to us as students.
A $6,000 bill and inadequate coverage: How MIT health insurance fails graduate workers
Despite MIT’s extreme wealth, many of its graduate workers with chronic health needs do not receive affordable care with the currently-offered student insurance; moreover, relief funds meant to help with unexpected medical costs are poorly publicized and can be denied on arbitrary technicalities to the graduate workers who need them most.
The UE isn’t the union the GSU claims it is
I support our right to unionize. I support the concept of graduate unionization at MIT. And I would support the Graduate Student Union (GSU) if they were unionizing without the UE.
The MIT GSU and UE will bring a history of social justice to the future of MIT
In the wake of the resounding endorsement of the MIT Graduate Student Union (GSU) by MIT’s Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA), the MIT GSU wants to highlight our prioritization of one of the most-voiced graduate worker demands at MIT: a material, institutional commitment to racial and social justice.
Graduate student-leaders: only a union can secure real change at MIT
Instead of making progress, we witnessed the MIT administration unilaterally ignore inconvenient recommendations, dismiss and exploit the service of graduate student-workers, and resist the changes we urgently need.
International student workers deserve fair treatment
During this crisis and in the months since, we’ve spoken to many fellow international student workers who believe that MIT’s policies often do not reflect or respond to our needs and that forming a graduate student worker union at MIT is the best way we can compel the Institute to respect our rights and well-being.
Empowering ourselves to be better researchers through unionization
Teachers unionize to reduce class sizes so they can focus on providing the best education possible to their students. Nurses unionize to fight understaffing so they can give their patients quality care. We’re unionizing so we can focus on conducting world-class research.
Now is the time for MIT to divest from the fossil fuel industry
There’s no better time to act than now. As the world races to minimize the catastrophic damage that will be inescapable to future generations if nothing is done, MIT must use every tool at its disposal to aid in the fight against climate change.
BGSA votes to endorse MIT GSU
The Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) is proud to publicly endorse the MIT Graduate Student Union (GSU) through a landslide community vote of 92% in favor.
MIT’s pre-registration fee is a hidden tax on students
Every IAP and summer, a little-known date passes that determines whether students will be hit with an $85 fee — the late pre-registration fee.
Improving education at MIT through graduate student unionization
I came to MIT excited for an excellent graduate education in Materials Science and Engineering. After my first few weeks, it became clear to me that much of the work of crafting an education for both graduate and undergraduate students fell to the TAs. They were responsible for attending lectures, drafting problem sets in advance, teaching multiple recitation sessions each week, preparing review sessions, holding office hours, updating and configuring Canvas, drafting exam questions, proctoring exams, and grading problem sets, term papers, and exams. They do all of this while still being expected to conduct world-class research and take on many additional administrative and maintenance tasks.
Surveying MIT Asian/American students on campus mental health resources
In our survey, a large majority of respondents indicated the importance of having therapists that share their ethnic background (70%) and are culturally competent (86%). Respondents noted that cultural familiarity increases therapists’ empathy and understanding of sources of mental health issues.
Unionize for a grievance procedure that puts students first
I enjoyed my first nine months in my lab without incident — I got along with my PI and was nearing completion on a body of work that would result in a first-author publication. But one October evening, things changed. My PI sent an email accusing me of breaking equipment that I hadn’t touched in weeks. When I tried to defend myself, she called me “combative” and called my communication style “unprofessional.” She told me that I was a bad lab citizen, even though as lab safety officer I devoted hours every week to managing lab waste and keeping my labmates safe. My PI made several unreasonable demands in the following weeks, including that we work at least 60 hours per week and respond to Slack messages within one hour during the workday, a rule that completely disregards the fact that students have classes and experiments that prohibit swift responses at all times. When I tried to communicate my concerns, I was again accused of “giving pushback” and being disrespectful.
On Love, Truth, and Justice at MIT
These remarks were originally prepared for MIT's 48th Annual Martin Luther King Celebration Luncheon held on Feb. 10, 2022.
Free expression and academic freedom on campus are worth fighting for
Anybody connected with MIT has likely heard of the “Abbot Affair” by now. Dorian Abbot, a geophysicist from the University of Chicago, was invited to give the prestigious John Carlson Lecture, an annual public event of the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. Though it is unrelated to his research or lecture topic, Abbot is an outspoken advocate for “Merit, Fairness, and Equality” (MFE), in opposition to the “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) initiatives that are now the norm on many campuses, including at MIT. Abbot has made many controversial statements in the public square in his defense of MFE. After an uproar both internal to MIT’s campus and on social media about allowing Abbot to speak, the department canceled this year’s Carlson Lecture and invited Abbot to instead give an internal colloquium to the department.
Imprudent, immoral, illegal
On February 16, MIT Divest filed a legal complaint with the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General to investigate the MIT Corporation’s continued financial investment in the fossil fuel sector. Frustrated with universities’ insufficient action in the face of the climate crisis, our student divestment campaign and similar groups from Princeton, Yale, Stanford, and Vanderbilt each prepared a legal complaint with the assistance of attorneys from the Climate Defense Project. Signatures from prominent professors, community members, climate scientists, elected officials, student organizations, alumni, and national environmental organizations supporting the cause show that there is widespread agreement that investments in fossil fuels are not just immoral and financially irresponsible — they are also illegal.
I’m voting yes for the Graduate Student Union because MIT continues to fail its student veterans
Before coming to MIT, I served in the U.S. Army as an infantry soldier. Most of my time in service was spent deployed in Eastern Europe, conducting NATO ally reassurance missions and counter-Russian aggression operations after the annexation of Crimea. Since being accepted to the MIT AeroAstro program in 2019, however, MIT has failed to correctly certify my Veterans Affairs (VA) educational benefits. MIT was noncompliant with federal regulations and unresponsive to my calls to action. These educational benefits are guaranteed in the Post-9/11 GI bill, which provides tuition and housing allowances to veterans who honorably served the country. These benefits enable veterans to gain skills that will help them transition to civilian life through educational and economic support. These benefits have allowed me to begin a new career which is useful and exciting. I joined the MIT Student Veterans Association (SVA) to advocate for the improvement of this situation for all MIT veterans.
MIT’s administration seeks to exclude over 1,000 graduate workers on fellowship from unionization vote
Decisions about whether to fund graduate workers by RA-ship, TA-ship, or fellowship are often made arbitrarily for reasons of administrative convenience, without any difference in work duties.
The case for labor unions
Those who organize to form labor unions are neither irrational nor impulsive. Those who organize to form labor unions are critical thinkers driven by necessity.
MIT Chancellor and Vice Chancellor provide important updates on graduate student unionization issues
Ultimately, we do not want to draw any unnecessary lines among MIT’s 7,000 graduate students. However, the unionization process requires us to do that in one way or another.
We are unionizing for quality and affordable housing
Several unlucky individuals have gotten stuck in elevators, some have dealt with peeling paint and murky water, and others still with broken heating. Complaints were filed but not addressed promptly. The front desk was short-staffed. And almost everyone agreed that the rent was too high.
Our successes together
Indeed, it is our deep interest in our students’ work and success that has led us to embrace roles in student support and academic life, rather than focusing solely on our teaching and research.
Without a union, MIT is failing GRAs and undergraduates alike
Trying to maintain adequate living conditions was exhausting, frustrating, and totally disruptive to my research, my studies, and my GRA responsibilities.
Recommendations towards a better MIT for Asian Americans
We still do not have enough culturally competent mental health professionals, representation within faculty, staff, and senior-level administration, or a physical community space.
The risks and costs of unionization
On April 4 and 5, many of MIT’s graduate students will participate in a confidential election to decide whether the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) will represent them for collective bargaining.
We have genuine love, strength in numbers, and unity on our side
Reaching this point has taken a lot of hard work, and MIT’s administrators haven’t made it easy.
A former GSC President’s call to unionization
When negotiating with an administration that refuses to recognize what we do every day as work, I had little power to meaningfully address problems and make improvements in our conditions and compensation.
Why I’m voting ‘no’ to the graduate student union
How do the UE and GSU imagine they will write a singular representative contract that accounts for the thousands of possible and unpredictable paths that might be taken to solve the tough problems we tackle at MIT?
The disgraceful end of the beloved MIT Pharmacy
Believe me, there is no more comforting feeling than sprinting from MIT Medical’s Urgent Care to the warm environment of the Pharmacy and having an antibiotic or antiviral resting on your tongue in less than 15 minutes.
Facts about the safety and security of nuclear power plants in Ukraine
The war in Ukraine is heart-breaking. Combining the words “war” and “nuclear” adds fear and raises a host of questions amid uncertainty and sadness. Ukraine is a country that derives over half of its electricity from nuclear energy and has 15 reactors generating electricity. Ukraine is also the location of the decommissioned Chernobyl power plant, which was the site of the worst nuclear accident in history. [Here is a video about what happened at Chernobyl, by Prof. Mike Short, as taught in 22.01 (Introduction to Nuclear Engineering and Ionizing Radiation), Fall 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ijst4g5KFN0.]
On civility: in search of the path forward
I write today to share some personal reflections and concerns about the way our community is currently interacting.
I never fully signed onto a full-time job at the Massachusetts Tool or Die Company (a nickname we used in the early ’70s). Sometimes, I went entire Sundays without doing any tooling, not even a problem set. Instead, I was fully invested in my student activities: The Tech and the MIT radio station (then WTBS, now WMBR).
SFS took my “family’s financial circumstances” into account, but their broad definition of family included a woman who is more of an angry ghost than a functioning parent. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that this choice was better for the university’s bottom line.
Expanding our horizons through nuclear energy and space exploration
Whether you’re religious or atheist, looking at the sun, moon, stars, and beyond gives you a sense of power and intimacy with nature itself.
Seif Fateen: An MIT-educated professor languishing in Egypt’s prisons
While Seif Fateen is only one man caught in the web of a sprawling complex of prisons, his torment epitomizes the scourge of ruthless repression that countless Egyptians have had to suffer since the July 2013 coup.
Defense tech: social impact ... or just warheads on foreheads?
The perception of defense tech as warheads on foreheads is not inaccurate. However, it is neither holistic nor disqualifying from the label of social impact.
Welcome back to Fortress MIT
Just when it seems possible that we may be returning to some semblance of pre-pandemic life, the installation of new scanners to replace the "temporary" gates at the main entrance of Building 7 signals a chilling new normal: Fortress MIT.
Our facilities workers deserve a fair contract now, not a pay cut
MIT's administration continues to chase profits rather than devoting its immense resources to supporting the well-being of the people that keep MIT functioning. But workers are fighting back.
An MIT-quality labor agreement
Collective bargaining between MIT’s graduate student workers and administration is about to officially begin. Unfortunately, both sides are already off to a disappointing start. The administration and union organizers have been too focused on rhetoric and not enough on honesty.
Do members run this union?
The union has recently announced internally that bargaining will, in fact, be closed to all graduate students, save for members of the Bargaining Committee and a handful of graduate students.
We're all just flesh and bones, but somehow, this particular body is not permitted to cross a border.
Mental health must be top priority
Your mental health is more important than getting an A, submitting a conference paper, or hitting your degree milestones on time. This is your only life.
‘The Tech’ should not advertise for companies jeopardizing humanity’s future
I believe that The Tech should review its definition of a “dangerous product” and consider the implicit impact of promoting Chevron job opportunities on its home page.
How MIT could more effectively combat global warming
Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on wind turbines, solar panels, and electric cars will make no perceptible difference in global warming during our lifetimes. Would an intense and highly focused research and development program on direct CO2 removal and climate engineering not be a better investment of resources?
Radical breakthroughs for climate change? First we must deploy existing technologies
We’re always thrilled when people use science-based tools like En-ROADS; however, En-ROADS does not support the claims Mr. Hafer and Mr. Miller make.
MIT must protect campus communities against hate speech and hostility
When academic departments give a platform and MIT funding to any speaker, the aegis of free speech does not relieve the department from the consequences of that speech.
Cambridge’s own Green New Deal
City Councilor Quinton Zondervan is proposing the Cambridge Green New Deal with the goal of lowering emissions from commercial buildings.
MIT’s lack of safety provisions nearly left me dead. But graduate workers are not disposable!
Over the years at MIT working with countless chemical and physical hazards in my lab, I have come to learn first hand how MIT systematically neglects graduate worker health and safety. This all came to a head when I found myself in an ambulance after a chemical exposure, unsure if I would live or die.
Fossil fuel companies fall short on climate pledges
Hearings held by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in September reveal the failures of fossil fuel companies to live up to their pledges on reducing their environmental impact — and why we still have work to do.
Freedom of expression for all, minus students
Last fall, President Reif charged the provost, chancellor, and chair of the faculty to examine the state of freedom of expression on campus “on behalf of the community.” The process that led to the Freedom of Expression statement and report grossly failed President Reif’s call to “ensure that different points of view … are allowed to be heard and debated on our campus.”
IDHR alone won’t protect us: Creating an MIT that works for us all requires a fair contract
The current process for recourse secures all power in the hands of the administration. We, as student-workers and victims in these situations, deserve a clearly laid out procedure where we are empowered to speak out about our grievances and supported throughout the process to reach a fair resolution.
Well, FML for digging myself a hole that makes it nearly impossible to find a path towards a better life for myself.
A one-time payment can’t address an ongoing crisis
On Oct. 19, MIT’s administration sent an email announcing a “special one-time payment” of $1,500, pre-tax, for some eligible employees, which MIT will provide in response to concerns about inflation and the financial challenges it has posed. We are grateful for the payment; however, MIT employees need real relief in the form of a cost-of-living adjustment to our salaries.
Strong unions are a force for economic and racial justice
Nearly 60 years ago, a quarter-million people rallied together for the historic “March on Washington,” where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. What’s sometimes forgotten about the march, though, is that it was actually called the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” The demands of the march included an end to segregation and the protection of voting rights, alongside an increase to the federal minimum wage and a federal jobs program to train and employ all unemployed workers. It was understood that ending poverty — with decent wages and full employment — was essential to achieving racial equality in practice.
MIT GSU’s proposed grievance procedure offers solution to broken advising system
The following stories were collected from seven Master’s and/or PhD program alumni who endured severe and prolonged bullying from the same advisor at MIT. Their experiences span 14 years, from when the first of them joined the group to when the last left. All of them suffered deep injury to not only their careers and wellbeing, but also the scientific rigor of their research. By silencing dissent, shutting down inquiry, and demanding that data be massaged to fit pre-existing theories, this advisor and his unchecked abuse directly threaten MIT’s fundamental mission and its reputation for expanding the bounds of human knowledge. These alumni do not share their stories to disparage the Institute, but rather to highlight the failures of current policies in responding to cases of advisor abuse. They implore the MIT administration to listen to grad workers and accept the MIT GSU’s proposed grievance procedure for harassment, discrimination, and bullying. This change would offer grad workers suffering advisor abuse real protection and recourse, thus making MIT a better place for both researchers and research.
MIT Reflections: Does MIT fulfill the values it claims?
Black students entered the event to demonstrate that we will not be silenced and to ensure our experiences are not sanitized for the comfort of others. This effort was organized in response to malicious events that occurred during the first week of classes, but Black people on campus deal with nearly constant affronts that spur our organizing including daily racial aggressions, traumatizing encounters with MIT police, and years-long deferrals on meaningful action to address our needs. What happened the first week of classes, detailed below, is both symbolic and symptomatic of larger issues of anti-Blackness within the Institute.