Excerpt From GSC’s ‘New Grad Dorm: Process Failure’ — Feb. 7, 2007
To summarize, serious commitments were made, both orally and in writing: first, generally, to improve communication with students; second, specifically, to consult students if any changes needed to be made to the NW35 plans. Given the consequences of not consulting students earlier in the NW35 project, students accepted on good faith that the administration would seek to avoid such conflicts in the future.
Over the past two months seniors administrators have completely disregarded their explicit commitments to graduate students. When they learned that updated cost information placed the building $11.5M overbudget, they met internally and made a drastic revision to the building plan: the entire fourth floor was struck from the design. Neither the GSC President nor any of the other students on the Stakeholder’s Group was consulted during this decision-making process.
We do not have the necessary information to judge whether it was an appropriate decision to hold to the original $104M budget given new financial realities. We do not have the necessary information to judge whether, assuming that the $104M cap needed to be rigidly adhered to, the elimination of the fourth floor was the best way to accomplish this. We do, however, know one thing: promises were made, and not kept.
MIT is neither a democracy nor an autocracy. Shared governance depends on students, faculty, administrators agreeing on a course of action, and administrators then implementing that course of action. If the administration can violate these agreements with impunity, then the essence of shared governance is destroyed.