Professor callsto divest[mk1]By Andy Fish
Gretchen Kalonji '80, assistant professor of materials engineering, introduced a motion that calls for MIT's divestment of all holdings in companies present in South Africa at Wednesday's faculty meeting.
The faculty discussed the 1985 Report of the President, and graduate and faculty housing. It recommended the establishment of a Master of Science degree in Urban Studies and Planning.
Kalonji moved that the faculty recommend MIT divest itself of stock in companies present in South Africa by May 1, 1986. It is immoral to back the South African government, Kalonji said. Divestment is an "effective action in support of the struggle," she added.
"I would like this institution to stand on the side of freedom and justice," Kalonji said.
"It would be appropriate for us to do this as a faculty," said Willard R. Johnson, professor of political science. Recent polls of South African blacks show overwhelming support for divestment, Johnson said. The divestment could produce economic gains for the Institute, he added.
President Paul E. Gray '54 said the executive committee of the MIT Corporation would have to decide the Institute's course of action. It is possible, he said, to oppose the status quo and at the same time oppose divestment as a tactic.
Gray noted that some believe corporations profit from apartheid while others believe they have a positive impact. He raised the issue that many companies don't operate in South Africa, but supply to and purchase from the racist regime.
"When is it appropiate for an institute to express a position on a political issue?" Gray asked. He expressed concern about political exposure and company relations.
The motion will be debated and voted on at the Dec. 18 faculty meeting.
Vernon M. Ingram, professor of biochemistry, raised the issue of graduate housing. He cited<>
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both financial and educational benefits of living on campus, such as "the interplay between American and foreign students." Ingram feared for the safety of students who "work late at night ... and are fearful of going to the outlying and perhaps not very savory neighborhoods of Cambridge and Boston."
The last constructed house cost "$30-35 thousand dollars a bed," Gray said. It would cost $60-80 million to double graduate housing, he continued.
Janine Nell G, president of the Graduate Student Council, said that 25 of last year's admitted graduate students indicated on a survey that they would not attend because of the lack of housing or the high cost of living. Since only a third of the students completed the survey, "we may be losing 75 graduate students this year alone," Nell said.
Stanford University has a new housing plan which allows it to offer housing to half its graduate students, Nell said. The plan was funded by a bond issue, gifts, and a rent increase, she said.
Robert A. Sherwood, associate dean for student affairs, said the housing problem could be solved by developing the Simplex Project. "I would like to see more aggressive negotiations," he said.
The faculty unanimously passed a Department of Urban Studies and Planning motion to create a new Master of Science degree in Urban Studies and Planning requiring less study than the currently offered Master of City Planning professional degree.
The new degree would act as a stepping stone for foreign students and would be available to students with one-year residences or those who have lost their funding.
The cost of housing in the Boston area is "a matter which can no longer be disregarded by this institution," Provost John M. Deutch '61 said. "If we are going to attract the young faculty, we must find some way to cope with this problem," he added.
A faculty member at New York University would not accept a position at MIT because of the lack of housing, according to Professor Jeremy M. Wolfe.
MIT's second mortgage program for faculty was presented by Treasurer Glenn P. Strehle '58 and Assistant to the Treasurer Susan DeFord. Strehle noted that the demand for on-campus housing has increased at the undergraduate and graduate level. This demand is caused by the lack of reasonably priced rental units and the scarcity of units at any price, he said.
"Young faculty are seeking a home," Strehle said. Housing costs in Boston have increased 65 percent over the past two years and are growing faster than anywhere else in the country, he said. Faculty incomes also are not matching incomes in the private sector, he continued.
MIT's second mortgage plan "increases the price of a house a faculty member could obtain," Strehle said.
The current plan would increase the purchasing power of a faculty member earning $50,000 by up to 33 percent, DeFord said. A new plan would increase that power by 38.5 percent, and adding a "soft loan" to the package would increase it by 53.9 percent, DeFord added.
The second mortgage plan defers some payments for 15 years, keeping payments below 25 percent of the faculty member's income, DeFord said.
The revisions to the plan would include increasing the size of mortgages to 25 percent of the purchase price or a maximum of $50,000, reducing first-year payments to $10 per month, and providing assistance in locating summer jobs, Strehle said.