Creating the MIT Values StatementDaniel E. Hastings, Tracy Gabridge
We are delighted to share with you the MIT Values Statement, the product of more than a year’s worth of broad consultation and serious debate by a group we were privileged to lead, the MIT Values Statement Committee.
Fittingly, the statement now lives on MIT’s About page, right next to the Institute’s mission. As President Reif wrote when he introduced it to the community on April 12th, the values statement is not a code of conduct nor a cudgel for enforcement. Rather,
it expresses a promise we make to ourselves and to each other about the kind of community we aim to create together. All of us, in every role, make daily decisions large and small. The statement offers a shared foundation for grounding those decisions, a touchstone for how we aspire to be as we pursue MIT’s mission.
The committee carefully reviewed past efforts to capture the values of MIT, from our 1861 founding to the present, as well as contemporary community surveys and reports on instances when the Institute fell short. Through meetings with units across MIT, direct written submissions to the committee, and our webcast presentation last fall, we engaged more than 2,000 members of the MIT community, pored over hundreds of candid, thoughtful comments on our preliminary draft, and reworked it extensively in response.
The final text represents our best attempt to produce a statement of values that could unite the whole community. We encourage you to read the statement, as well as our report, which discusses the deep questions we wrestled with and offers practical thoughts on ways to infuse these values in the daily life of MIT.
At the Institute, the past several years have been marked by some distressing and divisive moments. We hope and believe the values statement may help people across MIT refocus on how much we share, on how we aspire to live and work together, and how fortunate we are to be part of this uncommon community.
Daniel E. Hastings SM ’78, PhD ’80, Professor and Head, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Associate Dean of Engineering for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Tracy Gabridge ’88, Deputy Director, MIT Libraries (retired this spring)