The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 41.0°F | Partly Cloudy

MIT provides interview opportunities impartially

(Editor's note: The Tech received this letter from President Paul E. Gray '54 addressed to Gretchen Ritter, a graduate student in political science.)

Dear Ms. Ritter:

I write in response to the letter ["Deny CIA recruiters access to MIT"] dated Oct. 5, 1985, which was signed by you and thirteen other persons. I address this response to you because you spoke to me on Oct. 8 about recruiting by the CIA at MIT and because you delivered the related petitions. Please share this letter with your associates in whatever manner seems appropriate.

It is the policy of the Insitute to provide interview opportunities impartially to all bona fide employers. This policy was affirmed most recently in 1970 by a faculty committee on placement services which reported in February 1970 to President Howard W. Johnson. This report stated, in part:

The Placement Office should continue its present policy of providing interview opportunities impartially to all bona fide employers. Further consideration of this recommendation has led to the firm conviction that all bona fide emloyers should indeed be admitted to interview students at the Placement Office. This includes companies such as Dow Chemical, the General Electric Company, and the CIA. We can conceive of no reasonable criteria for selection which leads to any action short of welcoming all or excluding all. Placement interviews at the Placement Office are a service to the students and each student should have the opportunity to decide for himself which companies he does or does not want to interview. The Institute should not make this decision for the student.

This policy seems to me to be precisely correct. And I have full confidence in the ability of MIT students to make informed, appropriate, personal choices.

With regard to how the Institute's policy on nondiscrimination relates to this matter, let me say first that the policy seeks to ensure that no student is prevented from participating in MIT programs and activities. That policy states:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology admits students of any race, color, sex, religion, or national or ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the Institute. It does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, handicap, age, or national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, or athletic and other Institute-administered programs and activities, but may favor US citizens or residents in admissions and financial aid (emphasis added).

While the Institute is responsible for ensuring that its programs satisfy this statement of policy, it cannot and should not be expected to assure anyone that each employer who comes here to interview has and adheres to a similar policy of nondiscrimination. Of course, many employers have adopted similar policies in accordance with nondiscrimination requirements placed on federal contractors. But many, perhaps even most, make no reference to sexual orientation, which is not mentioned in the relevant federal requirements.

It is my view that by allowing all employers to recruit -- including those who may discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation -- MIT is not closing its programs to any of its students. Preventing some bona fide potential employers from interviewing on campus would be putting barriers before those students who are interested in seeking employment with those organizations.

Should you or your associates wish to communicate with me in the future on this or other subjects, I would appreciate it if you would do me the courtesy of delivering your letter to my office at least as soon as you deliver it to The Tech.

Paul E. Gray '54->

MIT President->