May/June 2020 | Vol. XXXII No. 5

Heartsick. Anguished. Enraged.

Helen Elaine Lee
Here we go again with the grief and outrage of being black in America. This time, we’re trying to survive two pandemics.

Interview with Ragon Institute Director Dr. Bruce Walker

The following interview by Faculty Newsletter Editorial Board Chair Jonathan Alan King (JAK) with Dr. Bruce Walker (BW) was held on May 18, 2020.

Challenging Systemic Racism at MIT

Following the killing of George Floyd by a white policeman on May 25, protests erupted across the nation against the grotesque wrongs of anti-black racism and its long, tenacious hold on the American social structure.

Greetings to our Graduates in the Year of the Pandemic

In other years, this issue of the MIT Faculty Newsletter would be sitting in the laps of the thousands of parents, family members, and friends who would have attended Commencement.

From the Faculty Chair
“May You Live in Interesting Times”: The Year in Review

My term as Chair of the MIT Faculty began on July 1, 2019. To say that it has been an interesting year would be something of an understatement.

Words + Words + Words

Sandy Alexandre
As a Black scholar of literary studies, I want to honor and thank all of the justice-seeking words that came before our 2020 ones – words that either vocally or in written forms of communication sought and fought for racial justice in the world and on this campus.

The Case Against “#BlackLivesMatter?”

J. C. Woodard
The following was penned for white America’s edification, so that everyone will understand why Black Americans have been furiously marching in the streets.

Voices from the MIT Community Vigil

Kendyll Hicks, Ramona Allen, Malick Ghachem, Corban Swain
The following four messages speak to the tragic circumstances triggered by racism, the consequent chronic experience of fear, and the need for our community to recognize and address the continuum of racially inspired situations at MIT as well as those beyond.

A Faculty Testimonial

Years back I was privileged to have a very talented African-American graduate student. She was awarded her PhD for a superior thesis in physical biochemistry.

CMS/W and Racial Justice: A Path Forward

We support Black Lives Matter and other activists protesting racism and police violence, spurred by the killing of George Floyd. We must stand with them, speak out strongly, and act with determination.

Literature’s Statement of Solidarity

The Literature Section of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology stands against racism and the policing policies that enforce it. We abhor the racial profiling and the violence that have resulted recently in yet more murders of Black American citizens.

Statement from MIT Anthropology

In the midst of Covid-19’s unfolding and unequal death tolls and of ongoing police, state, and everyday violence against Black, Brown, Asian, and Indigenous communities in the United States and elsewhere, we in MIT Anthropology stand against racist white supremacy

Statement from the Graduate Student Council (GSC)

We are deeply angered and heartbroken by the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, as well as the countless others who have lost their lives due to racist violence and police brutality.

Ramping Up On-Campus Research at MIT

After two months of sequestering researchers from campus to address health concerns for our community as the world battled the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, plans are underway to restart campus research operations.

On the Risks and Benefits of New International Engagements

I write to report on how the Faculty and Administration have together been evaluating the risks of new international engagements – and strengthening our processes for doing so – in the eventful months since my last report on this subject in the Faculty Newsletter in the fall of 2018.

Anonymity, Liquidity, Mobility: A Quandary

Since last fall, we and many others at MIT have been thinking about the question of fundraising – grants and gifts – and the circumstances surrounding them.