Summer news review
By Reuven M. Lerner
The election of University of Michigan Provost Charles M. Vest to the presidency of MIT topped the news on campus this summer. Other important stories included the death of David G. Moore '91, faculty condemnation of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps policy excluding homosexuals, and the opening of a new graduate student dormitory on Albany St.
On June 18, the MIT Corporation unanimously elected Vest to become MIT's next president, replacing Paul E. Gray '54. Vest will replace Gray on Oct. 15,
at which time Gray will replace retiring Corporation chairman David S. Saxon '41.
Vest's election concluded an almost year-long search for a new Institute president. Two committees, one of faculty and the other of Corporation members, met regularly during the year to discuss and interview candidates for the position. Biology Professor Philip A. Sharp was nominated by both committees in early February, but later declined so that he could continue his research.
Despite some student criticism of the search process, most students, faculty and staff seemed pleased by Vest's selection. However, the Alternative News Collective distributed a press release at Vest's introductory press conference, accusing him of being a "nebbish technocrat" who did not adequately respond to racism and harassment on the Michigan campus.
Vest dismissed such comments, saying, "I will pay personal attention to those questions and look into them."
David G. Moore '91, a mechanical engineering major, died on July 4 after falling from
a fifth-floor balcony in Senior House. According to several sources, Moore jumped from the balcony after having taken a dose of LSD several hours earlier.
According to the county medical examiner, Moore died due to "multiple injuries," presumably resulting from his fall. A spokesman at the medical examiner's office refused to provide any additional information concerning the investigation, including the date on which the report had been filed.
As of yesterday afternoon, Campus Police Chief Anne P. Glavin still had not heard the results of the medical examiner's report. Neither the Cambridge Police Department nor the county District Attorney's office returned repeated telephone calls concerning the case.
Senior House students have held numerous house meetings since Moore's death, where they have been joined by Professor James T. Higginbotham, the Senior House housemaster, and James R. Tewhey, head of residence and campus activities. According to several sources, students at those meetings were reminded that the MIT Medical Department offers counseling services for those using hallucinogenic drugs.
Faculty condemns ROTC's
exclusion of gays
An overwhelming number of faculty members voted on May 16 to condemn the current ROTC policy of excluding homosexuals, and appointed a special committee to set a deadline for ending MIT's affiliation with the program.
Current military policy does not allow gays to enter any of
the armed forces, including the ROTC programs. The problem became an issue on campus when former ROTC midshipman Robert L. Bettiker '90 told his superior officer that he was gay. Bettiker was expelled from the program and told that he would have to repay the $40,000 in scholarship money he had received.
Provost John M. Deutch '61 wrote a letter in April to Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, saying that the military's policy should be changed. In the letter, he called for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation, arguing that continued discrimination would give critics of the military a weapon for driving a wedge between the defense establishment and universities.
This summer marked the opening of the 143 Albany St. graduate student dormitory, the first new graduate residence in several years.
The opening was not without its troubles, however. The dormitory opened late because the Cambridge Fire Department needed to issue a permit approving the building's fire alarm system. Soon after that was done, 88 new apartments were opened to 192 graduate students.
The rents in the new dormitory were much higher than many of the students expected, partially due to MIT's misunderstanding of Cambridge zoning regulations. MIT had originally planned to put married students in some of the rooms, but was unable to secure permits from the zoning commission that would have allowed that.
Graduate students are also adjusting to a new on-campus housing policy, which requires a two-tiered lottery before students can stay in campus housing permanently. Married students are now only permitted to stay in Institute housing for two years.