Why the Career Fair, like MIT, is unique
The Sept. 20’s issue of The Tech featured a front-page article suggesting that participation fees for organizations to recruit at MIT’s Fall Career Fair contributed to a lack of balanced recruiter representation and that fees were unreasonably high when compared to peer institutions. While participation fees at the Career Fair are higher than peers, the article failed to investigate how the Career Fair differs significantly from our peers and is uniquely modeled to add value in supporting student life at MIT. Furthermore the article did not properly recognize that all campus-wide recruiting initiatives — including those of the GECD-Career Services and at other schools across the country — also see extensive Course 6 recruitment and face similar challenges attracting balanced representation.
The posters regarding BC murals are troubling
The recent postering campaign, prominent in the building where the Concourse program is located and highlighted in a front-page Tech photograph last week, is deeply troubling. This campaign, which targets those who removed murals and graffiti at Burton-Conner which were inconsistent with the Title IX prohibition against sexually harassing environments, is fueled by a knee-jerk outrage that fails to understand how problematic the murals and graffiti were under Title IX. The effect has been to undermine the free speech the campaign purports to honor by fostering an environment in which open discussion of the grounds for covering over the mural is inhibited.
Burton-Conner housemaster response to front page photo of ‘postering’
I write in my capacity as the Housemaster of Burton-Conner to respond to the campaign of retaliation that began on Sunday night Sept. 22 and was continued by your publication in The Tech on Friday, Sept. 27 of a poster indicating that Burton-Conner was “subject to legalese and scare tactics” because “Students [were] attempting to communicate.” This poster and related ones were posted throughout Burton-Conner and in buildings across campus on or about Sept. 22/23, by a group that identified itself as “Concerned Connerside,” but reportedly involved students from many parts of campus. “Legalese and scare tactics” must refer to my raising a Title IX concern, since that was the only rationale given, and repeatedly, by MIT for removing certain murals and graffiti from the walls of Burton-Conner.
Long term solution needed for MIT campus waste disposal
Approximately 100 billion pounds of food are thrown out every year, accounting for 30 to 40 percent of the available food supply. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that food accounts for 21 percent of the waste sent to landfills and incinerators, the largest percentage for any single material in the waste stream.
Murray, Middlebury, and MIT
A reader discusses Dr. Charles A. Murray’s incident at Middlebury College and what MIT can do.
Nomads of New House
New House seniors currently living in Houses 3-6 are being forced to move Tuesday, May 30th from their current rooms into rooms in House 1 and 2.
Response to “The invisible families of MIT”
Spouses and partners are a vibrant part of our community, contributing in many ways. If you are looking for support, know that MS&PC is here to listen and help.
UA President/VP Election
For the first time since 2015, voters will have a choice between not one but three tickets for the future of the Undergraduate Association’s leadership.
MIT Museum free for MIT spouses
Thank you to Grace Chua for an informative article that shed light on campus life for graduate student families at MIT.
Trump’s Executive Orders should not be called a “Muslim ban”
I appreciate and respect the reporting and perspectives that have been published during this semester in The Tech in response to or in connection with President Trump’s travel and immigration executive orders. However, some crucial facts and opinions have been missing which the MIT community deserves to know about, especially in these current troubled times when security threats have become daily news.
Response to ‘Health insurance for graduate students with dependents to increase’
On behalf of MIT Medical and the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE), we are writing to express our disappointment in your front-page story “Health insurance for graduate students with dependents to increase.”
Give us a chance
Dear Senior House residents,
Give the chancellor a break
Since her appointment as Chancellor in February 2014, Cynthia Barnhart, PhD ’88 has overseen a variety of changes for student life on campus. Recent actions regarding Senior Haus have proven unpopular with some of the student body. However, Chancellor Barnhart has taken, at her own risk, unprecedented steps towards including students in the decision-making process at MIT over the past three years.
The Senior House decision: Chancellor Barnhart responds
I’m writing because many of the concerns people are bringing to me are based on inaccurate information and a misunderstanding of what brought us to this point. What I find most troubling are the accusations that this is somehow intended as an attack on vulnerable populations or on students’ ability to self-govern. This decision is about one thing: providing every MIT student with a safe environment.
Senior House is a vital refuge for its residents
As a woman in science, I never felt like I fit anywhere. But I belonged in Senior House.
Senior House residents respond to Chancellor Barnhart
We agree that it is appropriate to remove from Senior House anyone who has violated an MIT rule or actively, repeatedly, and affirmatively encouraged rule-breaking behavior. However, it would be entirely inappropriate to prevent any of the rest of us — the overwhelming majority of Senior House residents — from returning home.
The chancellor’s timeline of the Senior House decision
Given the high level of interest in facts surrounding the Senior House decision, I thought it might help to lay out the milestone events of the last year and share my thinking.
MIT IS&T has been injecting Google Analytics code into HTML pages being served from MIT’s Athena lockers
Since April, IS&T has been injecting Google Analytics code into HTML pages being served from our Athena lockers.
MIT misused survey data to take action against Senior House
Chancellor Barnhart and President Reif should jointly apologize to the MIT community as a whole and HMS participants in particular for any pain or distress related to the study or actions informed by the study.
Who lost Senior House?
To protect these students from further harm, and to protect other and future students from similar harm, the MIT Corporation should fulfill its fiduciary responsibility to investigate how the Institute’s senior leadership came to compel the waste of thousands of person-hours of precious MIT student time.
Abolishing Senior House not only alienates current residents but also alumni
Nearly 1,400 alumni, going back to 1958, signed a letter to Barnhart earlier this month expressing their alarm with the administrative actions regarding Senior House.
Open letter to President Reif about the events in Charlottesville
Thank you for your August 15 e-mail about the horrific and frightening events in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend. I urge you to go one step further.
MIT Turing laureates propose creation of School of Computing
There comes a time, in the course of scientific evolution, when a discipline is ready to emerge from the womb if its parent disciplines and take its own place in the world. For computer science, or more accurately, for the field of computing, this moment is now.
CASE leaders and MIT deans on financial hardship
Last week’s Tech article on the Class Awareness, Support, and Equality (CASE) socioeconomic study was a stark reminder to the MIT community that financial hardship is a real issue on campus. It affects undergraduates and graduate students alike, often invisibly. At an institution like MIT, it is unacceptable for any student to go without basic needs due to a lack of funds.
Pleasure@MIT responds to the #MeToo campaign
Me too. Me too. Me too. Story after story has appeared on our social media accounts, reminding us of the unacceptable prevalence of sexual violence in the lives of people around us.
In support of a School of Computing at MIT
The mission of a School of Computing or an Institute-wide computing initiative should be to understand computing in all its forms, advance computing technology to support engineering, science and the humanities, educate students to be innovators of computing technology, and inform the public in the state-of-the-art of computing.
A call for MIT to unite against bigotry and hatred
Taking inspiration from Martin Luther King Jr., who proclaimed, “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” we call for dialogue across all spectrums of views and identities, with the goal of achieving greater understanding and compassion for each other.
Among tax bill’s offenses, an insult to students
While MIT bears no responsibility for this attack on higher education, this scandal calls into question the decency of a bizarre semesterly ceremony: MIT cutting a check to itself, we hope on our behalf.
Poor logic behind current tax reform bill
With President Trump’s reinterpretation of what is taxable income, he will surely lead by example and pay out of pocket to cover taxes on all of his travel expenses whether he travels to meet a foreign dignitary or to just dust off his putter.
Senior House students respond: the chancellor’s allegations are unfounded
The punishment being implemented by the MIT Chancellor and President goes far beyond individual accountability, or the desire to eliminate drug use in the dorm. Allegations of widely tolerated drug use were made by the chancellor, but prior to the investigation, very few students were aware of the events that have now been punished by the COD.
Pilot 2021 will be a fatal experiment
The MIT Administration has announced its inauguration of an experiment on human subjects called "Pilot 2021." They have not yet published the hypothesis they are attempting to test with this experiment. I offer my own hypothesis in the sincere hope that it will be disproved:
Pilot 2021 threatens the LGBTQ community at MIT
As the presidents of MIT’s three undergraduate LGBTQ organizations, we feel compelled to advocate against the dispersion of one of MIT’s largest LGBTQ communities and the destruction of one of its vibrant queer-affirming spaces that has existed for decades in Senior House.
Pilot 2021 is is a move in favor of student freedom, not against it
My name is Mike Short (’05, PhD ’10), and I'm an assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering. I'm one of relatively few to have both lived at Senior House and joined the faculty or staff at MIT, and I'm the faculty member serving on the Academic and Well-Being subcommittee of the Senior House Turnaround Team. I therefore would like to offer a unique perspective on the Senior House Turnaround Team and the recently announced Pilot 2021 program.
Senior Haus needs to change
I can’t sit back and continue to let East Side students and alumni speak on our behalf. While still respecting the privacy of Senior Haus, I will speak only for myself, a current Class of 2019 Senior Haus resident.
IM T-shirts are a misogynistic microaggression
The shirts should be thrown out; there is no appropriate situation in which they are acceptable to wear. I was then extremely angry to see that the floor continued to wear the shirts during the intramural three-on-three league during IAP and around the MIT campus.
Four centuries, three Larrys, and one woman
Last week, the announcement at Harvard reminded me that changes at the top are a symbolic occasion for universities to fulfill that obligation. They should not be missed.
Commentary on MIT’s new course, MIT and Slavery
There is merit in acquiring and acknowledging facts from the past, but passing ex post facto moral judgement on them deprives us of a correct understanding of history, of human nature, and of our own state of being.
In response to the last BSO... review
I’m sympathetic to it being the reviewer’s first time experiencing classical music, but it seems unnecessary to phrase the title in such a way as to question why anyone would ever enjoy such a thing.
Addressing falsities in ‘A Not-So-Merry Christmas in Jerusalem’
The Jan. 11 opinion piece in The Tech titled “A Not-So-Merry Christmas in Jerusalem” was littered with factual inaccuracies.
Advice on the GRE for MIT students
MIT students, don't try to wing the GRE.
President Reif responds to editorial on MIT’s moralizing
“Your editorial of April 5th points to serious, difficult questions we must ask when developing relationships with outside parties, including what qualifies or disqualifies a potential collaborator, and how we can gauge whether our choices serve the long-term best interests of MIT.”
Response to the MIT 401(k) lawsuit: the forest, the trees, and MIT’s employees
The recent lawsuit over MIT's Supplemental 401(k) Plan has little merit, as the plan is entirely optional and MIT already offers its employees generous benefits.
Talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The wall that stood outside the Student Center on the week of April 22, 2018 lacked nuance in its presentation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It omitted many important facts.
Response to undergraduate course, MIT and Slavery: how should we acknowledge our history?
MIT, like many other universities, has a complex historical relationship with slavery — it is necessary for the community to investigate this relationship.
How (not) to spend one billion dollars
There are many better ways to spend one billion dollars than to create an MIT College of Computing.
President Reif responds to letter on Saudi Arabia
President Reif will formally respond to students' concerns regarding Saudi Arabia after consulting faculty of MIT's international activities.
Socialism: What it is and how to fight for it
Young people need to understand what socialism is and to join the fight for socialism.
Response to “Grad students suffer from lagging support”
"We are pleased by our very meaningful collaboration with graduate student groups and others on these topics [and] we invite all graduate students to join us in creating an even better MIT."
A letter to Associate Provost Lester on Saudi Arabia
Are there any circumstances under which our institution would end relations with such an agent as Saudi Arabia? And if so, how would those circumstances differ from those we face with Saudi Arabia?
From greatness to gratuitousness
Who is to blame for the planet's current state? An MIT alumnus gives his thoughts.
Faculty advisor responds to column on MIT India Conference
MIT India Conference faculty advisor S.P. Kothari responds to a guest column, "Shunned by Harvard, feted by MIT." He explains the reasoning behind allowing Dr. Swamy to speak.
Chancellor and provost respond to column on MIT India Conference
Chancellor Barnhart and Provost Schmidt respond to a guest column, "Shunned by Harvard, feted by MIT." They argue that freedom of expression is one of the institute's central values.
Financial support of MIT is unethical
The argument that MIT cannot cease working with the nation of Saudi Arabia without punishing its worthy scholars is a cynical (and unproven) smokescreen that serves to obscure a much less patatable idea — that state-sanctioned murder to silence a journalist can be rationalized as a minor transgression, so as not to damage a lucrative relationship.
Alumnus responds to MIT India Conference controversy
These are challenging and difficult issues but MIT's decision — in the ultimate analysis — will serve us all well. MIT will and should remain an inclusive place.
How will the College of Computing teach ethics if its dean is on the board of Amazon?
Newly appointed College of Computing dean, Dan Huttenlocher, is on Amazon's board. Will this conflict with the CoC's goal of teaching its students "ethics" in computing?
Dean of Student Life responds to columns on student housing
We agree that the foundation for good relations is hearing each other out, understanding others’ perspectives, and trusting that we all want what is best for our community. We know that reaching consensus isn’t easy, and that top-down, one-size-fits-all solutions don’t work well. The DSL keeps these realities in mind when we work with students on projects like designing the New Vassar Street residence hall or improving the room-assignment and move-in processes. Every project is different, but our approach is to listen to students’ ideas and concerns, and we ask that they listen to ours.
PhD student responds to column on MIT India Conference
Our goal is to discover the bad ideas and replace them with better ones. You want this to happen in yourself and in other people, which can only occur when those different ideas meet.
Vice President for Research responds to column on postdocs and sexual harassment
"Working together on these initiatives will strengthen the Institute’s approach to preventing sexual harassment in any MIT learning or working environment."
Alumnus on silence around Senior House
Now that a year has gone by, it is time for the administration to report on how the students who were thrown out of their “home” have adjusted to their changed life at the Institute.
Alumnus on Sheryl Sandberg’s 2018 commencement speech
The MIT community should think critically about Facebook’s hypocrisies and misdeeds, even as we heed Sandberg’s imperative to “do all the good we can, knowing that what we build will be used by people — and people are capable of great beauty and great cruelty.”
In defense of President Reif
President Reif’s positions on so many other decisions directly affecting students have demonstrated a degree of integrity and political courage that I have found both encouraging and increasingly rare among our leaders today.
Alumnus on the sources of MIT’s donations
MIT has 137,765 living alumni, but only 33 percent of them donate to MIT. If every alumnus donated $4,370 per year, equivalent to 4.9 percent of the mean starting salary for graduates with an SB degree, MIT would not need to take large contributions from the likes of Epstein, Schwarzman, and Koch.
Dean for Graduate Education and Vice Chancellor respond to piece on graduate student mental health
We are writing in response to the opinion piece “Graduate student mental health is in crisis” that appeared in the October 10, 2019 issue of The Tech. Authors Jeff Rosenberg, Sarah Cowles, and Nick Selby, writing on behalf of Graduate Students for a Healthy MIT, advocate for creating “a healthier academic environment for [all graduate students] to grow as scholars and people.” We too are committed to that end and applaud the authors for elevating this crucial matter and providing an opportunity to foster conversation—and, most importantly, action.
Generating house dining plan ideas in the context of program challenges and constraints
MIT’s dining system runs at a deficit, making reinvestment difficult. This leads to a decrease in the meal plan’s perceived value, an increase in dissatisfaction among mandatory subscribers, and further limits participation and the dining program’s sustainability.
Endorsements are dumb
“Why should we, the readers of The Tech, care about what MIT Democrats have to say? The answer is that we shouldn’t.”
Current UA Officers agree Danielle Geathers and Yu Jing Chen stand out as leaders in this time of uncertainty
Danielle and Yu Jing’s platform focuses on the student to administration transparency vector, building infrastructure to increase the UA’s awareness of student concerns and thus increasing the UA’s ability to advocate those interests to administration.
Use technology to allow students back on campus
I strongly recommend that MIT use its intellectual and financial resources to implement technological approaches that will allow a phased return of undergraduates to campus over the next few months.
Provost and deans of Sloan and College of Computing respond to letter on Luis Videgaray
Luis has provided regular and forthright updates to MIT faculty and administrative leaders on the various legal reviews now underway regarding the former presidential administration of Mexico, in which he served, and MIT is monitoring the situation closely.
Reusable utensils pilot underway
On Sept. 24, 2020, an article was published in the opinion section of The Tech titled “Regaining a culture of sustainability amid a pandemic,” written by Jen Fox, detailing steps MIT Dining could take to reduce the waste produced during COVID operations. To many readers living on campus, where plastic and single-use items seem inescapable, this article hit home. For many of us off campus, this article brought to our attention the feasibility of reusables and the seeming absence of them on MIT’s campus.
Some concerns about unionization from a graduate student
The prospects of unionizing are unclear, and the trade-offs to this point have been poorly defined by the GSU. This is not a free lunch, and, indeed, it is uncertain whether any manna is forthcoming.
Censorship and the Carlson Lecture from an alum’s perspective
The events around the invited Carlson Lecture and views of Professor Abbot demonstrate how censoring speech can result in an increase in publicity for hurtful views.
Director of MIT Medical responds to “How MIT health insurance fails graduate workers”
We offer our graduate students competitive and reasonably priced health and dental insurance, provide generous support for students facing medical and other financial hardships, and work collaboratively with students to improve our delivery of medical services.
Director of International Students Office responds to international students op-ed
If the UE becomes the sole representative of graduate students in the bargaining unit, we do not know how these matters will be handled in contract negotiations and what an article on international students might look like.
Senior Associate Dean of Housing & Residential Services responds to “We are unionizing for quality and affordable housing”
According to survey data, 90% of respondents agree or strongly agree that they are satisfied with their choice to live on campus.
MIT and local input needed on open-campus reversal
One benefit the Institute gave to the city and other local communities was access to the central portion of campus — an inspiration for local young people and an educational resource for many. If this access is removed, then we have ourselves an ivory tower.