Letters to the EditorPresident Charles M. Vest's justification for MIT's tuition increases ignores a big factor. Vest suggests that faculty salaries are driving the increase, when in fact if faculty salaries had been raised at the same rate as tuition, the average professor would be driving a Lexus and living in a Back Bay townhouse. It might be better to look at the administration. According to the Planning Office's MIT Factbook, in 1969, MIT employed 962 faculty and 622 administrators. By 1989, the ranks of administrators had doubled to 1,217 despite the fact that the faculty head count was practically unchanged at 988.
The 600 additional administrators, conservatively estimated to cost $50,000 per year each (salary, benefits, overhead, etc.), collectively soak up at least $30 million annually, or $6,000 from each undergraduate.
Bureaucracies grow without limit unless checked by some external force. By working with Ivy League schools to fix tuition prices, the MIT. bureaucracy has escaped the discipline of the marketplace. If MIT. can defeat the government's antitrust suit, that's great. However, we shouldn't delude ourselves into thinking $19,000 per year is somehow what an education needs to cost.
Philip Greenspun G
Tech Article Victimized Doctors, Students
The Tech received this letter last December, but failed to print it because of a clerical error.
Both John P. Olynyk `94 and the Medical Department have been victimized by the irresponsible and flagrantly confrontational article that appeared in The Tech ["Stab Victim Faced Wait for Treatment," Dec. 8, 1992].
When called about the Nov. 20 stabbing incident in which Olynyk and another student were injured, I said that my information about Olynyk's injury and treatment was incomplete, namely, that he was examined by a competent physician within a minute of arrival at the Medical Center and that the judgment of that doctor was that Olynyk's injuries posed no immediate threat to life and that his transfer to the Massachusetts General Hospital should be done expeditiously, but not urgently. Although I had no explanation for the 20-minute delay to the MGH, Mr. Olynyk was stable on arrival.
It is most unfortunate that statements I made were quoted out of context. It was my understanding that the students were agitated, demanding, abusive, and excited when they arrived at the Medical Center shortly after midnight. At that time entry into the building, for security reasons, requires proper identification. I had been told that the students had been drinking and that that added to the tension that existed.
In a recent conversation with Olynyk, I was convinced that excessive alcohol was not an issue and that any abusive language and demeanor reflected the concern, fear, and frustration that the students were experiencing. If all the facts of the incident were correctly compiled before the article was printed, I am sure that the situation would have been described fairly and that the distortions offensive to John Olynyk and to me would not have occurred. Parenthetically, the story failed to include even a hint of the concern and empathy that I expressed for Mr. Olynyk and the other student.
There are lessons to be learned from this experience. We live in a violent world that requires us to be constantly aware of situations posing potential threats to our safety. In the event of an injury, an immediate call to Campus Police will provide an ambulance or patrol car for rapid transportation to the nearest acute care facility. The Medical Department must facilitate access to Medical Center providers after hours. Medical providers need to be more communicative with students and not project indifference or lack of interest or concern.
All is well that ends well and I am especially appreciative that John Olynyk was aggressive (figuratively, not literally!) in bringing his experience and sensitive observations to the attention of the Medical Department and the medical director. We really do care about students, as well as wanting to care for them.
Arnold N. Weinberg
Medical Director Kessler's Criticism Of Referendum Unfair
David Kessler's diatribe in Tuesday's Tech ["Students Need More Facts to Make Informed Decisions," Mar. 9] was mean-spirited and confused.
Kessler begins by complaining about the first referendum question, "Should MIT guarantee its students the same freedom of speech that students have at public universities?" This question, he says, can draw only one answer: yes. As a supporter of free speech, I agree with him on this. But he later goes on to disagree with himself by questioning the third referendum question, which follows logically from the first. If we are to have the same freedom of speech that students have at public universities, then our speech code must be modified to conform to those free speech protections.
Kessler misunderstands the third referendum question. He complains that it is not yet a settled matter of law whether MIT's harassment policy is unconstitutional. But nowhere do the referendum questions say that the MIT policy is unconstitutional. MIT is a private institution, and as such is not bound by the First Amendment. The issue is that Massachusetts law may forbid the speech restrictions present in the policy. The third question mentions that the MIT policy regulates constitutionally protected speech only to make clear that the Institute is not required to regulate such speech.
Kessler complains that the MIT harassment policy is not present at the polls. But it is Kessler's friends on the Undergraduate Association Election Commission who barred the provision of that information. For him to so complain is grossly unfair.
Reading Kessler's letter, I wonder whether the questions themselves are what bothered him. He certainly doesn't seem to have read them very carefully. Perhaps his real problem is that he can't address the issue through some special committee, UA-sponsored survey, or other method that gives him some control.
Dean Franck '95