MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


The mission of the Office of the Associate Provost is to assist the Provost and other academic officers in carrying out academic and program support functions. In the past year the Office has focused on 5 major areas of activity. These are discussed below:


The Associate Provost chairs the Implementation Team that President Vest established to carry out the April 1996 vote of the faculty on ROTC. Other members include: Professors William Watson and Kim VanDiver, Dean Margaret Bates, Colonel William Rutley and Ms. Sarah Gallop of the President's Office.

The faculty voted that MIT should pursue a series of actions to broaden access to a modified ROTC Program, to support students who are disenrolled from ROTC due to sexual orientation, and to continue to advocate for national change. The desire to pursue these actions was based on two important principles which informed the vote and framed the Implementation Team's work. First, MIT is committed to a policy of non-discrimination in educational and other campus programs. Second, MIT is committed to preparing students for national service and for effective leadership. ROTC has played an important role both at MIT and nationally. MIT recognizes that the leadership skills derived from the ROTC Program are valuable and believes that these benefits should be available to all interested students.

Subject to further review, the faculty voted that continued participation in ROTC was appropriate on the understanding that MIT will seek the eventual end to discriminatory policies and, within the limits of the law, develop modifications in the ROTC program that would expand the educational benefits of ROTC to all MIT students.

Based on the Faculty Resolution, the following action items frame the team's agenda. The Committee consulted with other colleges, universities, and advocacy groups to explore opportunities for joint action and legal advocacy to further the goals of the faculty vote. The team will identify and support activities that improve the climate for gay and lesbian members of the community, and we will open a dialogue on issues related to gays in the military. There has been no significant activity within the past year at any of MIT's peer institutions which host ROTC on their campuses. Some schools that MIT has worked closely with on this matter have indicated that they are waiting to see what actions MIT will take before they move forward. Two schools in the California State system--Sacramento and San Jose--have reversed their positions on ROTC and have reinstated the programs on campus.

There are other cases at the federal circuit level as well as in lower courts, (including three in California's 9th Circuit Court of Appeals,) which are considered by advocacy groups believe to be most likely to deliver an unconstitutional ruling regarding the federal law in 1997. If so, this could mean that the Supreme Court might agree to hear the first "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" case in 1997. We will continue to monitor the cases, consult with counsel, and recommend action as appropriate.

Since April 1996, there has been little visible activity in Congress regarding the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" law and the general matter of participation of homosexuals in the military. However, there were two legislative actions that have some significance for our work. The first was a broadening of the Solomon Amendment, which had originally stipulated that DOD funding would not be granted to institutions that prohibited military recruiting or prevented the maintenance or establishment of an ROTC operation. The second legislative action was a tightening of the participation restrictions in ROTC programs. The National Defense Authorization Act of 1997 now stipulates that only students who are eligible for advanced military training may participate in field training or practice cruises.

The Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid created a reinsurance policy that provides administrative support and financial resources to students who are involuntarily disenrolled from ROTC because of sexual orientation. The April 1996 MIT faculty vote included the following item dealing specifically with financial support for students who are disenrolled from ROTC because of sexual-orientation.

"MIT will reinsure MIT students who lose ROTC scholarships due to their sexual orientation with a financial-aid package consisting of the standard need-based MIT scholarship, plus an optional supplement contingent upon public service."

The objective of this element was "... to counteract, to the extent we can, the on-campus consequences of current discriminatory policies against homosexuals in the US military by reinsuring the DOD scholarships of disenrolled homosexuals."

In its final report to the faculty the ROTC Task Force proposed that responsibility for implementing and overseeing the reinsurance policy be given to the faculty Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid, currently chaired by Professor J. Kim Vandiver. On April 4, 1997, that committee released policy statements, implementing that portion of the April 1996 faculty motion dealing with reinsurance.

The following is the policy developed by the Committee on Undergraduate Admission and Financial aid on reinsurance of MIT Students who are disenrolled from MIT ROTC programs. Any MIT student who is disenrolled voluntarily or involuntarily from an MIT ROTC scholarship program is eligible to apply for the standard MIT financial aid packages and should do so to determine their level of eligibility. Any MIT ROTC scholarship student whose ROTC scholarship is terminated because of sexual orientation may also request supplemental loans beyond the standard financial aid package. The supplemental loans may be forgiven by MIT after the student has completed a period of public service. Students who choose not to perform public service will be expected to repay the supplemental loan and associated interest charges at the rate as stated in the MIT loan note signed at the time of receipt of funds.

During the course of our work, we have consulted with the Department of Defense. In the first instance, the discussion focused on explaining the faculty vote and exploring potential ways to create a program that would address MIT's educational mission within the constraints of the law. We also sought clarifications related to congressional action and federal laws. These early discussions also gave us an opportunity to explore the meaning of congressional actions taken after April 1996.

Our team, in consultation with others on campus, has decided that we will propose a set of modifications to the MIT AFROTC program. The result of our consultation on campus discussions suggests that this is our best chance to start the modification process. We are not presently considering proposals for other campus units though our expectation is that success in one branch will enhance potential for acceptance in other branches. Our proposal will focus on the on-campus educational offerings. Our goal is to develop a program that centers on leadership, team-building, and other personal skills that are consistent with our goals for undergraduate education. This thrust is consistent with other campus initiatives to develop leadership skills among our students.

In reviewing the Air Force curriculum, our team and the Assessment Sub-committee of the ROTC Oversight Committee have concluded that the program can be modified to highlight these activities in a substantial way, that such modifications would enhance its value to the ROTC cadets, and would make these elements of the program attractive to other MIT students as well. On the strength of this review we believe that we have a strong model. The proposal will be consistent with federal law.

On campus we have begun to search for ways to promote an improved climate for gay and lesbian members of our community. We have had informal conversations about our task with both individuals and groups in the MIT community. In recent weeks, we have briefed the Faculty Policy Committee, the Student Advisory Committee, and the Academic Council. In April, we met with the LBGT Issues Group (Lesbian Bisexual Gay Transgender), newly formed this year, to explore ways in which we might cooperate in seeking to improve the climate on campus and make our community more welcoming to all groups who are affected by discrimination. The discussions have laid the foundation for campus forums and other activities in 1997-98.

In preparing this report, the team acknowledged that there has been no progress in ending discrimination within the ROTC program since the faculty vote in April 1996. The legal barriers still exist. The team also recognized the difficulty that this issue has caused some members of our community who believe that any cooperation with a program that continues to discriminate is morally wrong. With this in mind, the team also acknowledged a simultaneous obligation to oppose discrimination, assist those who might become its victims, press for change, even as we take every opportunity to provide leadership education to all MIT students.


In December 1996, we began an Institute-wide review of student information policy and procedures. This review is being undertaken with an eye toward developing a policy to meet both the individual and institutional needs regarding the collection, use, and dissemination of information about students. Faculty, students, and staff are participating in this review that is scheduled to be completed in the Fall 1997. This work builds on the efforts of a number of staff members who had been meeting on this issue and of committees whose work has highlighted issues now being reviewed. The review is not intended to substitute for the work of other committees or offices, but rather to build on what they have accomplished.

No specific issue drives this review. There is a sense, however, that changes in technology, student service procedures, and expectations about privacy all suggest that we review and develop consensus about information policy.

In addition, specific offices, departments, and committees have internal procedures and traditions relating to student information. The goal is to consult broadly with faculty, staff, and student representatives, to identify areas where new policy needs to be made, old policy should be clarified, or where education about these policies and procedures is required.


The Associate Provost chairs the International Council which is composed of 15 faculty and staff from across the institute. The council has framed MIT's approach to globalism as follows:

One of the roles the council has is to advise the President and Provost on international matters. The council decided that the advice it gives will be guided by the broad mission noted above and not a detailed set of rules as some have proposed. In addition to advising on proposed initiatives, the council will also look for ways to foster international efforts, especially in areas that might not arise from the initiative of individual faculty members of a single department or laboratory. For instance, the council could identify a potential research and teaching area and bring faculty together with potential partners.

In closing out the year, the council agreed to consider what educational programs would advance the institute's education mission. A subcommittee will explore the issues related to courses and educational programs.


The International Scholars Office (ISO) assists MIT faculty and staff in bringing international researchers and professors to campus for a variety of purposes. The ISO advises on immigration matters, issues visa documents, and provides guidance, information booklets and flyers on a wide range of issues relevant to the international scholar population. Weekly orientations are held for incoming scholars and family members.

The ISO served a total of 1,376 international scholars who were affiliated with MIT during the period 7/1/96 to 6/30/97. These scholars represented 66 different countries and 74 departments, laboratories and centers. Most of the scholars, 923, were sponsored under MIT's J-1 exchange visitor program, and 146 were sponsored by MIT on the H-1B visa. Twenty petitions for permanent residence were submitted on behalf of MIT faculty members and upper-level researchers.

The primary activity of the ISO is to provide ongoing assistance to these international scholars, their families, and their MIT hosts before and after the scholars' arrival to the US. In addition, advocacy to protect international educational exchange continues to be a major focus of the ISO. Massive immigration reform legislation entitled "the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996" was signed into law by President Clinton on September 30, 1996. Although the law seemingly addresses illegal immigration, numerous provisions have an impact on the MIT community. The ISO has been active, providing information about these provisions to MIT scholars and attempting to shape the regulations that will implement the various provisions of the law. A related development has been the Immigration and Naturalization Service Task Force. This Task Force has begun implementing a major pilot program in four southern states to improve the tracking and monitoring of international students and scholars, with the goal of applying such a system on a national level.

The ISO has a number of forums for advocacy. Jack Crowley, Director of MIT's Washington office, remains of invaluable assistance. The ISO Director continues to participate in the American Association of Universities Immigration Advisory Group, which has played a key role in representing the interests of international educational exchange. With the passage of the law, concentration has shifted from the legislative arena to the regulatory process involving the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Department of State, and United States Information Agency (USIA). ISO staff is active in NAFSA: Association of International Educators, with some staff members participating in monthly meetings, attending and making presentations at the regional and national conferences, and serving on working groups pertaining to J-1 and H-1B visa issues.

The Director joined NAFSA's regional Government Regulations Advisory Committee. In addition, the Director joined the newly-formed Consortium on Higher Education Immigration Issues, a group of 25 members that also includes MIT's Associate Dean from the International Students Office. This group has extensive internal communication and productive meetings with relevant government officials to interpret and influence regulations applicable to international students and scholars on our campuses. Other ISO and MIT challenges include implementing USIA's new regulations related to the J-1 Exchange Visitor program and addressing ongoing issues related to the Department of Labor's H-1B visa regulations.

Among other significant staff activities were the following:

Dana Bresee Keeth continues to serve as Director, Penny Sundberg remains as Advisor to International Scholars, Jennifer Stephens was hired as Advisor to International Scholars, part-time, replacing Diana Faust LeLacheur, Ivana Hrga-Griggs was hired as Assistant Advisor to International scholars, replacing Jennifer Wellman, and Katherine Linton was hired as Senior Staff Assistant, replacing Heather McConley.


The Martin Luther King Visiting Professor Program is intended to honor the life and contributions of Martin Luther King. Appointment as a visitor is open to individuals of any minority group. Visiting professors are associated with academic units at MIT and hold a title of Martin Luther King Visiting Professor. MLK professors are active in their various departments in a variety of ways including participating in research programs, pursuing their own research or intellectual initiatives, teaching, and working with students. During this period, the Visiting Professors also participated outside the departments in activities that were open to the entire institute.

During 1996-97, five Visiting Professors were in residence. These included: Dr. Richard Joseph, Political Science Department from Emory University; Professor Oliver McGhee, Department of Civil and Environment Engineering from Georgia Tech; Professor Stephen Lee, Mathematics Department, from Argonne National Laboratory; Professor William Quivers, Physics Department, from Wellesley College; and Professor Walter Rodriguez (Fall term only), Department of Civil Engineering, from Tufts University.

During the year, the office consulted with the Martin Luther King Committee on the program, co-sponsored activities that featured the Visiting King Professors, including one session for minority graduate students to introduce them to the idea of college teachers.

Meetings with the Visiting Professors and consultation with the committee underscored the need to be more active in making sure that active recruitment takes place and that the needs of the visitors and the department are addressed in recruiting process. The MLK Committee produced a recruitment brochure and active efforts by the department resulted in commitments to 9 visitors for 1997-78, compared to 5 for 1996-7.

In addition to the regular support provided to the fellows, the Provost Office also provided funding to support the MIT Conference on African Renewal organized by Professor Richard Joseph. The conference brought several dozen scholars from Africa together for the three-day conference. Conference papers will be published in 1998.


In addition to the major areas above, plus work in connection with the Academic Council and routine matters, I also participated as a member of the Board of the Boston Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber, among other activities, organized extensive activity to make presentations to members of Congress regarding the importance of research in medical and educational institutions in the Boston area.

The Associate Provost participated in the 20th Anniversary of the MIT Office in Japan and took the opportunity to review prospects for future collaborations there. We represented MIT at the Agenda 21 Conference in Beijing. This was an opportunity to explore a variety of projects on environment and infrastructure planned for the next century by the Peoples Republic of China. The office hosted or greeted visiting scholars from every continent, reviewed and consulted on international agreements and prospective initiatives.

Phillip L. Clay

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97