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Articles by Ethan A. Solomon

November 2, 2010
College students, especially those in Cambridge, have a reputation for being left of center. Our results bore that out. Overall, 48 percent of MIT students thought the Democratic Party best reflected their views, whereas only 9 percent said the same of the Republicans. The Libertarian party put up a good fight, matching Republicans at 9 percent. A meager 2 percent identified with the Tea Party movement.
September 24, 2010
Last semester in these pages, I implored the student body to participate in, or at least care about, student government. In the wake of last week’s Undergraduate Association election results, it’s again time to talk about the worth of the UA and student government in general. Freshmen may still be unfamiliar with the workings of the various student policy-making organizations — the UA, Dormitory Council, the Interfraternity Council — just to name a few, but that’s all the more reason why new MIT students should start this year with an open mind about student government.
May 7, 2010
On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood made the case to an audience of MIT students and faculty that technological distractions in the car constitute an “epidemic” — each year, 6,000 people die because someone was texting or making a call while on the road. And Secretary LaHood is right. Distracted driving is a problem. But the Department of Transportation’s plan to tackle this challenge in the same way they taught us to wear seat belts and not drive drunk might have some problems of its own.
March 12, 2010
Here at MIT, we’re all about coming up with creative solutions to big problems. It’s just what we do best. But sometimes, it pays to remember that small, simple solutions can add up to solve big problems.
March 5, 2010
Sometimes it seems like the Undergraduate Association can’t do anything for you. After all, isn’t it really just the same powerless, ineffectual government-ish organization that couldn’t do anything for you in high school, either? At the end of the day, doesn’t the MIT administration really call the shots? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean that participation in student government isn’t valuable for other reasons.
February 2, 2010
Both on campus and around the world, the struggling global economy was the defining feature of 2009. On campus, students and administrators worked to find solutions to the Institute’s budget crisis, sometimes offering different visions of what a leaner MIT should look like. Nationally and globally, the economic downturn that began in 2008 continued to have a major impact on policymaking for the newly-inaugurated President of the United States as well as newly-powerful international bodies like the G20.
January 6, 2010
For a lot of reasons, undergraduates are often scared off from moving to apartments in Cambridge, Boston, or Somerville. Finding an apartment is a significant investment of valuable time and there are more unknowns than living in dorms or FSILGs — how much will utilities cost? How will I get to class? What’s a security deposit? But with the right strategy and the right attitude, moving off-campus can be financially, socially, and developmentally well-worth the risk.
October 27, 2009
Amidst the concrete barricades blocking off Amherst Alley, snipers on the Z-Center, the motorcade hustling past our dorms on Memorial Drive, and of course, the Presidential podium in Kresge, it’s easy to forget that Barack Obama came to MIT to deliver a message. It may not have been a very profound message, nor something we haven’t heard before, but since it happened here its worthwhile to think about and ask: What did the President tell us? Perhaps more importantly: What didn’t he tell us?
September 22, 2009
MIT Admissions’s recent decision to drop the long essay in favor of three short ones on the 2009–2010 application is something of a mixed bag. Like Admissions says, it could give MIT a more multifaceted and genuine picture of potential students. But at the same time, it may deny students the opportunity to write beyond a short-essay prompt and beyond a 200 word limit. Both options have their merits, and clearly, it remains to be seen how effective the new application will be.
September 4, 2009
In a September 1 column (“For Healthcare, Right is Wrong”) in The Tech, Joe Maurer argues that healthcare, prescription drugs, and emergency room treatment are not constitutionally-protected and inalienable rights, but goods and services to be earned through the acquisition of wealth. Maurer argues that healthcare is akin to property — an essential to life that is universally accessible in that those with sufficient wealth can always have it, but not universally provided for. Maurer also makes an economic argument — nonessential services like education and public safety economically benefit the country as a whole and thus are provided for in part or wholly by the government. “The purpose of any government subsidy or support,” writes Maurer, “is to encourage more of a desirable thing. No one with a medical ailment needs encouragement from a government to remedy their problem.”
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