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Suicide Implications Insensitive

This letter is in response to The Tech’s March 4 article on the death of Robert M. Wells ’08:

In the article reporting Rob Wells’s death, The Tech quoted from an essay Rob wrote in my Writing and Experience class during his freshman year on his having suffered from bipolar disorder and depression. While the essay is posted in the online magazine Culture Shock!, which was the class project and thus is available for anyone to read, your quoting it in the first column of your news report impressed me as having been motivated by the desire to raise the possibility that Rob’s death was not accidental. I found it to be an egregious and unfortunate example of sensationalist journalism — prevalent in the newspapers of today, yes, but I would like to think MIT students are above the fray in such delicate matters. Reading the article made me feel more intense sympathy for Rob’s family, who, it seems to me, have already suffered enough.

Rebecca Blevins Faery Director of First Year Writing

Editor’s Note: The Tech stands by its reporting.

Letter to the Community

Over the past weeks we have lost several members of the MIT family. Robert Wells died in a fall from his place of residence. J. Mark Schuster Professor of urban studies and planning lost a valiant battle with cancer. We said good-bye to emeritus faculty Louis Menand of political science and Frances Reintjes of electrical engineering.

At one level this is the natural order of things. At another, death always comes too soon. What we are reminded of, however, is that we are bound together in a shared enterprise. We are all touched by loss no matter whom, no matter when, and no matter why.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have suffered loss. Members of the Delta Upsilon fraternity traveled to be with Robert’s family at a service in New York. Later this week and next month we will celebrate their lives. This is as it should be.

As the same time, our community is also blessed. On March 6, Prof. David Mindell and his wife Pamela, Housemasters in Edgerton Hall welcomed Lucia Flora Mindell to their family and we welcome her to ours; we celebrate with them.

Sunday morning our clocks turned forward, the sun stays with us later in the day, and prospects of spring seem more real. Let us all find new energy for our work together, and for the ties of friendship and family that knit our community ever tighter. With time healing will come, but as the days pass let us resolve to be better friends, colleagues, workers and companions. The ties that bind us are wonderfully strong and should be celebrated each day.

Robert M. Randolph Chaplain to the Institute