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.
Ronald G. Ballinger
S. P. Kothari
J. Chappell Lawson
Michael Scott Morton
Gerald Jay Sussman