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Summer News Highlights

May

Following the assault of Robert M. Randolph, senior associate dean for student life, Albert W. Leung ’06 was arrested on charges including assault by means of a dangerous weapon. Criminal charges were filed against Leung following the May 24 assault. According to the campus police report, Leung used pepper spray as a weapon at 70 Pacific Street in Cambridge.

Leung’s name was removed from the degree list, though it was unclear if this occurred before or after the incident and whether it was related to the charges.

June

More than 2,100 students received degrees at MIT’s 140th Commencement Exercises, held on June 9 in Killian Court. Awarded were 1,025 Bachelor of Science degrees, 1,036 Master’s degrees, nine engineers degrees, and 270 doctorates.

Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben S. Bernanke PhD ’79 was the featured speaker. Class of 2006 President Kimberley W. Wu ’06 and Graduate Student Council President Sylvain Bruni G delivered salutes and President Susan Hockfield will delivered a charge to the graduates.

July

A new student reserve account policy that caps interest at $1,200 per year went into effect. Under the new policy, 3 percent interest will be paid for the first $5,000 and 2 percent on the next $52,500, up to $1,200 in interest a year.

The policy was drafted by the Association of Student Activities and Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict, and replaces the previous policy whereby Benedict had paid 4 percent interest compounded monthly on student reserve accounts, and there was no explicit upper limit on interest.

The target under the new system is to have Benedict pay between $10,000 and $12,000 a year, rather than the approximately $17,000 he paid last year. The policy will be effective for the next two years as the ASA searches for better alternatives.

Anticipated financial aid awards were omitted from student account statements posted to MITPAY in July, forcing students and parents to individually calculate the amount owed to MIT by August 1. MITPAY is an electronic billing and payment system accessible to students and authorized users, including parents.

Director of Financial Aid Daniel Barkowitz said that the error was due to a computer glitch which was resolved within a day. He said that the online statements could not be adjusted once the bills had been posted, but that Student Financial Services assisted students and parents in calculating the amount owed.

A faculty committee was convened on July 18 to investigate allegations made against Nobel laureate and Biology professor Susumu Tonegawa, the head of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. Tonegawa is accused of bullying neuroscientist Alla Y. Karpova into declining the Biology Department’s offer to become an Assistant Professor working at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research.

The allegations were raised in a letter, signed by 11 tenured female faculty members from the five MIT schools, addressed to President Susan Hockfield on June 30. The 11 professors stated in the letter that they strongly believe “MIT failed in this situation” and that MIT’s reputation as an Institute that supports fairness had been damaged.

Jacqueline N. Hewitt PhD ’86, director of the Center for Space Research and the chair of the investigative committee said that she hopes that the committee will complete its fact-finding work by October, at which point the provost will use the acquired information to make recommendations to improve collaboration in the neurosciences.

August

The appointments of Associate Provost Claude R. Canizares as vice president for research and associated provost and Professor Lorna J. Gibson as associate provost went into effect on August 1.

Many labs and research offices now report to Canizares as the vice president for research. He replaced Alice P. Gast, who is now the president of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Professor Steven R. Lerman replaced Gibson as Chair of the Faculty and will serve in that role through June 2007.

Information Services and Technology added new equipment, the Barracuda Spam Firewall Model 800, to the campus e-mail system on August 2 to improve handling of spam e-mail. The change was driven by an increase in spam that had escaped MIT’s existing SpamAssassin filtering system.

The Barracuda devices provide additional filtering beyond that provided by IS&T’s existing SpamAssassin installation, said Jeffrey I. Schiller ’79. In particular, it is especially good at detecting spam in mail containing image attachments, of which there had recently been a substantial increase, Schiller said.

Frank LaVerde, who opened LaVerde’s Market in 1988, sold his store on the first floor of the student center to 660 Corporation in early August. 660 Corporation operates MacGregor convenience as well as stores at Boston University.

Chris Christensen, director of operations for 660 Corporation, said in August that students would not notice many immediate changes to the business, and said that the store would keep the same hours as before the sale. However, LaVerde’s has yet to return to its 24 hour schedule for weekdays during the term. Christensen said earlier this week that LaVerde’s will be open 24 hours once the store can hire new staff, and he expects that will take a few weeks.

The James (“Big Jimmy”) E. Roberts Sr. Memorial Scholarship Fund, named for the East Campus and Senior House security guard who passed away in 2005, met its goal of $50,000. The now-sustainable scholarship will be given preferentially to East Campus and Senior House residents, provided that there is a financially eligible candidate from one of the two dorms.

Since Roberts’ death, residents of the two dormitories have worked to raise money for the scholarship, which will be distributed through the MIT Financial Services Office. Students have sold hot dogs and “Women of The East Side” calendars to support the fund. Additionally, money collected at this year’s Steer Roast was donated to the Jimmy Fund.

After a five year stay at MIT, the Institute’s only sexuality health educator Laura A. Stuart transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “I wanted to work somewhere closer to Chicago where my family is living,” Stuart explained.

Fifteen percent of the Class of 2010 entered the housing adjustment lottery during Orientation, down slightly from 15.7 percent for the Class of 2009. The percentage was an increase over the low of 12.8 percent for the Class of 2008.

Of the 152 freshmen who entered the housing adjustment lottery, 124 were able to move, or 81.6 percent. This number is comparable to last year’s, when 134 out of 157, or 85 percent, of those entering the adjustment lottery were able to move.

The most popular dormitories, based on the number of first-choice requests in the adjustment lottery, were Baker House with 34 requests, Burton-Conner with 24, and Random Hall and MacGregor House with 22 each. East Campus had the highest number of freshmen, 32, request to move out, with Burton-Conner following with 30 requests, and New House with 25.

—Compiled by Marissa Vogt