The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 46.0°F | A Few Clouds

Faculty meeting approves new commission

To the Editor:

We feel that The Tech presented an incomplete picture of the Wednesday, March 20 faculty meeting in its March 22 issue. Some significant facts which were omitted are as follows. The meeting was unusually well attended; about 50 students and l00 faculty and administration members were present. As The Tech indicated, the major issue was the proposal by Professor Vera Kistiakowsky to form a commission of faculty to study the effects of increasing military funding on MIT activities.

Professors James Meltcher (EE) and Bernard Feld (Physics) made prepared statements in addition to those by Leo Marx (STS) and Judith Kildow (OE) who were mentioned in The Tech. Each spoke from a different perspective about the relevance and importance of such a study at this time.

Robin Wagner G spoke for a broad coalition of student groups and individuals including representatives of the Faculty Committee on Educational Policy, the Graduate Student Council, MIT Student Pugwash, the Disarmament Study Group, the Student Ad-Hoc Committee on Curricula, the Hunger Action Group, the Science, Technology and Society Student Group, and the Undergraduate Association President and Vice President. Wagner presented a petition signed by 283 students who strongly supported the formation of this commission, and called for student membership on the commission and a role in defining the commission's charge.

An active discussion followed. Associate Professor Emma Rothschild (STS) commented that the Commission would need to generate new data since many important statistics relating to the influence of the military have not been collected since the Vietnam War. For example, it is not known what percentage of engineers and scientists in various fields are employed in military projects.

She also requested that the commission document the amount of on-campus research funding that comes from military sources by department. Professor James Kirley, Jr. (EE) suggested that the commission include "a few card carrying members of the military-industrial complex." No one spoke in opposition to the proposal.

Professor Art Smith, the Chairman of the Faculty, agreed to form the commission without a vote, and asked for faculty volunteers and recommendations of members to serve on the commission. Nominations for graduate and undergraduate participants will be accepted by the GSC and UA. The number of students will be determined after the faculty are chosen.

Erik Devereux '85->

Robin Wagner G->

Adrian Nye->