MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXX No. 4
March / April 2018
MIT Should Not Be Supporting
the Saud Monarchy
The Erosion of Social Norms Guiding
the Government-University Relationship
Improving the Urgent Care Experience
Through Student-Informed Care
Naming the MIT Intelligence Quest
Nuclear Weapons Education Project
MIT Students and Deep Learning:
Perspectives and Suggestions
MIT Day of Action
Higher Ed in the Era of #MeToo:
A Symposium for Faculty
and Graduate Students
Suicide and Sexual Harassment at MIT
MIT Research Expenditures 1940–2017
MIT Research Expenditures 1940–2017
Printable Version


Suicide and Sexual Harassment at MIT


To The Faculty Newsletter:

MIT students have a significantly higher suicide rate than students at other universities. According to "Reappropriate," an Asian American feminist Website the rate of suicide among Asian students at MIT is quadruple that of the national average. In 2015, two MIT students committed suicide in one week, and already this year an MIT mathematics graduate student took her own life. These facts would make one think that suicide should be the major concern that the MIT administration has about the well-being of their students.

Thus it is both strange and disturbing that sexual harassment, and not suicide, is the issue that President Reif and Provost Schmidt think is paramount. The only explanation is that they believe that unwelcome sexual experiences are worse than death and that their belief justifies their threat to remove any faculty member or staff who does not take the sexual harassment course that they have chosen to inflict on us.

As those who have taken the course are well aware, its content violates every principle for which an MIT education stands. MIT courses are designed to stimulate original thinking; this course is designed to discourage it. When a student or colleague approaches you about a problem that is related to sex, the course mandates that you parrot the words that it has taught you to say. To make a human response based on one’s own experience is forbidden. It is sad that MIT has chosen to adopt this form of thought control, but it is consistent with other decisions made by President Reif about the direction in which he wants MIT to go.

Dan Stroock
Professor, Department of Mathematics

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