As the next semester begins, The Tech looks back on the news stories of 2008 with this Year in Review. Take a moment to look back at the many news stories that affected MIT, and the handful of MIT events that impacted the nation.
Over the year, the nation read about MIT, when faculty won “genius grants” and students won prestigious fellowships, when an alumna was arrested in Afghanistan, and when the MBTA sued students presenting at a conference.
Student involvement was at the forefront of many on-campus discussions. In the next few years, a dialogue between students and administrators will become even more critical as economic difficulties force uncomfortable cutbacks across the Institute. This past year, both sides clashed on issues ranging from dining and housing to the treatment of hackers and the support of students like Star A. Simpson ’10.
Hackers, in particular, face great challenges in the years to come. In 2008, more arrests of hackers combined with a tougher stance toward traditions like orange tours have pushed hacking to the brink. MIT’s liability from hacks is also rising; At least two students have been seriously injured while hacking in the past ten years, and society has grown increasingly litigious and concerned about safety. As Kirk D. Kolenbrander told the Christian Science Monitor, “Our world has a different patience for those issues than it once did.”
In the next few years, students and administrators must work together to protect the tradition. MIT needs to take a risk and reaffirm its commitment to hacks, while hackers must be particularly careful. As things stand today, a serious injury or death would end hacking as we know it.
Editor in Chief
The Tech, Volume 128
Feb. 3, 2009