November/December 2021Vol. XXXIV No. 2

Letter By 77 Faculty Re: Professor Abbot’s Lecture Cancellation

We, a group of concerned Faculty, believe that the cancellation of the scheduled EAPS Carlson Lecture by invited speaker Professor Dorian Abbot of the University of Chicago casts a shadow on MIT’s commitment to free and open speech, to the diversity of viewpoints and to tolerance. We view this cancellation as an issue of utmost importance to MIT as a whole and not merely to the EAPS Department or its Department Head.

Given the importance of this matter and its coincidence with ongoing efforts at MIT to promote diversity, we believe that MIT should formulate and communicate a statement that will clarify MIT’s policies with respect to embracing viewpoint diversity, tolerance, and the sanctity of freedom of speech. We ask the Chair of the Faculty to establish a group composed of faculty to lead a “lessons learned” process. The findings with respect to this event and recommendations with respect to viewpoint diversity and freedom of speech should be communicated to the entire community. 

Signed in name by the below (an additional nine faculty have signed the letter but do not wish that their names be made public). An earlier version of this letter was sent on Monday, 10.18.21, to Diane Greene, Rafael Reif, Marty Schmidt, and Lily Tsai.

Hal Abelson
Pierre Azoulay
Ronald G. Ballinger
Arnold Barnett
Martin Bazant
Jacopo Buongiorno
Wit Busza
Alex Byrne
Wai Cheng
Bruno Coppi
Areg Danagoulian
Kerry Emanuel
Pavel Etingof
Nicholas Fang
Yoel Fink
Robert Freund
Stephen Graves
Michelle Hanlon
Alan Hatton
Neville Hogan
Juejun Hu
Yasheng Huang
Ian Hunter
Gordon Kaufman
Sang-Gook Kim
Jing Kong
S. P. Kothari
Monty Krieger
Richard Lanza
Richard Larson
J. Chappell Lawson
Leonid Levitov
Mingda Li
John Lienhard
Richard Lindzen
Hong Liu
Andrew Lo
Harvey Lodish
Nuno Loureiro
Kenneth Manning
John Marshall
Ron Parker
Roger Petersen
Robert Pindyck
Bjorn Poonen
Drazen Prelec
David Pritchard
Edward Roberts
Caroline Ross
Daniel Rothman
Harvey Sapolsky
Edward Schiappa
Antoinette Schoar
Michael Scott Morton
Yossi Sheffi
Michael Short
Bradford Skow
Gerald Jay Sussman
David Thesmar
Senthil Todadri
Bernhardt Trout
Vladan Vuletic
Roy Welsch
Dennis Whyte
John Williams
Jack Wisdom
Sidney Yip
Barton Zwiebach