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Alumni Letters

Letters from alumni.

Increasing Diversity
“Diversity Pledge” (MIT News, April 2005) seems to ignore an obvious idea from Economics 101. According to the article, MIT is not happy with the skin color and sex chromosomes of our current student body and faculty and is working desperately to cut down on white and Asian males in favor of females, folks with Hispanic last names, and people with darker skin. If a white male isn’t worth as much to the school as a black female, why charge them the same tuition or offer them the same salaries? The lack of diversity decried in the article would go away immediately if the Institute paid undergraduates with the right skin color $20,000 per year to attend MIT, graduate students $40,000 per year, and faculty $300,000 per year. To pay for this program without dipping into the endowment, MIT could raise tuition prices for white and Asian males by $5,000 per year and cut salaries for white and Asian male faculty members by 25 percent. It might sound unfair to pay people different salaries based solely on their skin color, but if a black female professor will help the Institute get more federal grant dollars and improves the campus environment overall with her unique perspective, shouldn’t she get paid extra to reflect that contribution?

Philip Greenspun ’82, SM ’93, PhD ’99
Cambridge, MA

Religion on Campus
David Cameron presents a sensitive and balanced view of faith at MIT (“MIT’s Burgeoning Faithful,” MIT News, March 2005). As the 1964-65 president of MIT’s United Christian Fellowship, the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship group on campus, I appreciate evangelicals’ being taken seriously by the academy. Kudos!

Gene B. Chase ’65
Grantham, PA

I very much appreciated David Cameron’s article, “MIT’s Burgeoning Faithful,” in the March issue of Technology Review. I was surprised to read, though, that Campus Crusade “barely existed two years ago.” If that is true, the number of students involved must have diminished considerably since the late ’50s and ’60s, when a fairly large group was active on campus. Like the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, they are certainly not a new group there. Although I now attend Anglican services and a Quaker Meeting, I was involved in Campus Crusade back then and can attest to the vibrancy and the sense of community it provided.

Art Funkhouser ’62
Bern, Switzerland

Revolutionary Radio
Your article about Tech radio (“Tune In to Tech,” MIT News, February 2005) brought good memories of my MIT broadcasting career. You mentioned the all-classical format of the early days, which I can confirm.

I was probably the first person to break that pattern. In 1948 I was encouraged by friends to ask WMIT for time to broadcast from an extensive collection of jazz records. The management seemed to be disdainful of anything not classical but agreed to try me out for an hour on Sunday evenings.

It was well received and continued until my graduation in 1949. In addition to playing music, I interviewed several nationally known musicians who were playing in Boston. That was the beginning of variety on MIT radio, and the beginning and end of my broadcasting career.

Tom Weil ’49
Moreland Hills, OH

House of the Future
Thankfully, the Monsanto house (“The House of the Future That Wasn’t,” MIT News, January 2005) was never built. It would be just another trendy building with no relation to nature, other buildings, or other people. I hope our architecture and urban-planning department is working to create livable, human-scaled developments. The past 50 years have produced a hostile human-scape of unnatural privacy, dependence on cars, and the replacement of the public realm by television. MIT must focus on the effects of technology, not just technology itself.

Brandon Schwarz, SM ’93
Atlanta, GA

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Please include your address, telephone number, and e-mail address. Letters may be edited for both clarity and length.

Deep Dive

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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