January/February 2022Vol. XXXIV No. 3

Clarification Needed on MIT’s Commitment to Freedom of Speech

Edward B. Roberts

To The Faculty Newsletter:

The long statement by Professors Eduardo Kausel and John Williams (“Is MIT Losing Control of its Own Destiny?”, MIT Faculty Newsletter, Vol. XXXIV, No. 2) is a deep and brilliant exposition on the sources of underlying strengths and global leadership of MIT. Their recommendations provide powerful guidance as to MIT’s needs for clarification by our faculty and senior leadership of MIT’s commitment to freedom of speech, expression, and tolerance of differences of viewpoints.

The Kausel-Williams referral to the current draft report and recommendations of the so-called “Values Report” is far too gentle in its treatment of just who are the framers of that set of proposals. Not only is the large majority of that group’s members staff and administrators, not faculty, but indeed almost all of those administrators are job-holders in the growing army of DEI advocates. No wonder that they are strongly supporting their own growth in numbers and powers of jurisdiction over all faculty teaching, research, and speech, as well as all administrative programs and actions within MIT. That same issue of the Faculty Newsletter contains an article about potential Conflicts of Interest among our MIT leadership. The authors of that article should carefully examine the real conflicts of interest among the authors of the “Values Statement” who espouse protection and elaboration of their own jobs and importance within MIT.

We may not need, to quote the MIT song, to go “back to the days of old at the Tech on Boylston Street”! But we do need to go back to the MIT that espoused and practiced its principles of academic excellence as the underlying basis for those whom we accept as students, invite to become faculty, and promote and eventually tenure. We are the superb institution we have become by adherence to those principles of quality and excellence in all we do and in all we accept into our portals.

Warmest wishes for regaining of the MIT I have known and loved since my entry as a Freshman in 1953.