MIT Faculty Newsletter  
contents Vol. XXXII No. 5
May / June 2020

This issue of the Faculty Newsletter features extensive responses to the killing of George Floyd and offers commentary on MIT's essential role in addressing racism at the Institute.

walking in snow
Heartsick. Anguished. Enraged.
Beginning with her opening sentence: "Here we go again with the grief and rage of being black in America," Helen Elaine Lee expresses what's in the heart and soul of so many.
"May You Live in Interesting Times": The Year in Review
Faculty Chair Rick Danheiser highlights the most extraordinary past year at MIT.
On the Risks and Benefits of New International Engagements
Associate Provost Richard Lester reviews the Institute's role in the world and offers some perspective on its possible future.
Challenging Systemic Racism at MIT
Following the killing of George Floyd by a white policeman on May 25, protests erupted across the nation against the grotesque wrongs of anti-black racism and its long, . . .
Greetings to our Graduates in the Year of the Pandemic
Editorial Board of the MIT Faculty Newsletter
In other years, this issue of the MIT Faculty Newsletter would be sitting in the laps of the thousands of parents, family members, and friends who would have attended . . .
Interview with Ragon Institute Director Dr. Bruce Walker
The following interview by Faculty Newsletter Editorial Board Chair Jonathan Alan King (JAK) with Dr. Bruce Walker (BW) was held on May 18, 2020.
From the Faculty Chair
"May You Live in Interesting Times": The Year in Review
Rick L. Danheiser
In november of 2001, 958 members of the MIT faculty (all tenure track faculty) were invited bo the Office of the Provost to complete the HERI faculty survey.
Heartsick. Anguished. Enraged.
Helen Elaine Lee
Here we go again with the grief and outrage of being black in America. This time, we’re trying to survive two pandemics. With Covid, our communities are suffering . . .
Words + Words + Words
Sandy Alexandre
As a Black scholar of literary studies, I want to honor and thank all of the justice-seeking words that came before our 2020 ones – words that either vocally or in . . .
The Case Against "#BlackLivesMatter?"
J. C. Woodard
The following was penned for white America’s edification, so that everyone will understand why Black Americans have been furiously marching in the streets.
Voices from the MIT Community Vigil
Kendyll Hicks, Ramona Allen, Malick Ghachem, Corban Swain
The following four messages speak to the tragic circumstances triggered by racism, the consequent chronic experience of fear, and the need for our community to . . .
A Faculty Testimonial
Jonathan A. King
Years back I was privileged to have a very talented African-American graduate student. She was awarded her PhD for a superior thesis in physical biochemistry.
CMS/W and Racial Justice: A Path Forward
We support Black Lives Matter and other activists protesting racism and police violence, spurred by the killing of George Floyd. We must stand with them, speak out . .
Literature's Statement of Solidarity
The Literature Section of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology stands against racism and the policing policies that enforce it. We abhor the racial profiling and . . .
Statement from MIT Anthropology
In the midst of Covid-19’s unfolding and unequal death tolls and of ongoing police, state, and everyday violence against Black, Brown, Asian, and Indigenous . . .
Statement from the Graduate Student Council (GSC)
We are deeply angered and heartbroken by the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, as well as the countless others . . .
Ramping Up On-Campus Research at MIT
Maria T. Zuber and Tyler E. Jacks
After two months of sequestering researchers from campus to address health concerns for our community as the world battled the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, plans . . .
On the Risks and Benefits of New International Engagements
Richard Lester
I write to report on how the Faculty and Administration have together been evaluating the risks of new international engagements – and strengthening our processes for . . .
Anonymity, Liquidity, and Mobility: A Quandary
Kenneth R. Manning and Lisa Parks
Since last fall, we and many others at MIT have been thinking about the question of fundraising – grants and gifts – and the circumstances surrounding them. We also . . .