Two Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduates have taken issue with their alma mater’s recent moves to become more woke, saying the decisions are “damaging” to the school and its commitment to academic freedom.
The two graduates, Tom Hafer and Henry I. Miller, wrote an op-ed for the City Journal earlier this month calling out the prestigious university’s turn to wokeness.
“We graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology more than 50 years ago. MIT was academically rigorous, and it taught us our crafts and the essence of problem-solving, enabling us to thrive in our careers. We owe much to our alma mater and have donated to it regularly,” the graduates began. “No more.”
The graduates then described a series of decisions from the school they say led to “treating its students unfairly, compromising the quality of its staff, and damaging the institution and academic freedom at large.”
The graduates wrote that they objected to MIT’s firing of its Catholic Chaplain Father Daniel Moloney after he sent a letter regarding his thoughts on George Floyd’s death. In the letter, Moloney wrote that Floyd “had not lived a virtuous life” due to his criminal convictions that that “most people in the country have framed [Floyd’s death] as an act of racism. I don’t think we know that.”
The letter was written before many facts about Floyd’s death were revealed and, as Hafer and Miller wrote, “was a sincere examination of conscience from a person whose job it was to examine conscience.” The pair also wrote that Moloney didn’t write this to justify Floyd’s death and even condemned his death at the hands of police in the same letter.
The graduates also called out MIT’s new diversity training:
In the autumn of 2020, MIT sent an email to new and current students informing them that they would be unable to register for spring classes if they failed to undergo wokeness instruction. In the email, MIT outlined two required trainings: one on “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” and the other entitled “Sexual Assault Prevention Ongoing: Healthy Relationships.” Portions of the training materials are available here. The compulsory videos contain deftly worded but fatuous questions implying that straight white males are at the “intersection” of all oppressive behaviors. Everyone else is an oppressed victim, with extra points for being a member of multiple minority groups. Thus, the concept of “intersectionality” is a kind of conspiracy theory of victimization.
Finally, the authors condemned the school for canceling a lecture from University of Chicago professor Dorian Abbot, a geophysicist, over an article he wrote in Newsweek suggesting diversity, equity, and inclusion policies on college campuses “violates the ethical and legal principle of equal treatment” and “treats persons as merely means to an end, giving primacy to a statistic over the individuality of a human being.”
The authors wrote:
First, facts are not racist, and stating facts is not racism. Second, a person’s ethnicity or skin color does not define him or her as a racist, oppressor, or victim. Third, intellectual ability and achievement are the principal requirements for admission as a student or faculty member to any university. Fourth, diversity of opinions is desired and supported. Fifth, a just, democratic society requires equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal responsibility; it does not require equal outcomes. And finally, adherence to the statements above must not be sacrificed for political, social, or public relations considerations.
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