(Petition) Standards of Excellence for the MIT Administration
(For full formatted version follow this link: http://tinyurl.com/SOEforMIT)

The UA has called for “diplomatic expression of thought to repair the bonds of trust” between the Undergraduate Community and the Administration. We believe the most important way to make progress with this relationship is to outline clear expectations for the relationship betweens students and the administration.

MIT’s mission states that the Institute “[seeks] to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.” It is only through practice shaping our own paths and those of the communities we love at MIT that undergraduates can have any hope of becoming the kinds of graduates MIT prides itself on producing. As a result, there are certain things we expect from the administration to help us live out that mission.

-We expect to be given the tools to make our own decisions about what we want out of the Institute.

-We expect support in developing the best parts of the cultures we choose to be a part of as we see fit.

-We expect the administration to protect a commitment to the inclusion and protection of underrepresented groups so we have the widest range of experiences possible to inform our time at MIT.

That being said, there are some standards of excellence we expect to be upheld as an administration that represents how MIT solves problems to the rest of the world.

-We expect the administration to publicly address concerns which are presented to them. In particular, we expect student stakeholders and/or relevant representatives be brought into conversations about decisions which impact any aspect of their community with enough time to gather information and respond constructively. We also expect these students to be able to meet with all administrators who are involved in making this decision before the decision is made.

-We expect the same standards of data ethics that are expected of every researcher at this institution. We expect data to be objectively and honestly collected and methodologies to be publicly available. If this is not possible, we expect explanations as to why.

-We expect separation of the actions of individuals from the actions of an entire community when issuing punishments and making decisions.

We as undergraduates demand better strategies should MIT’s administration fail to meet any of these expectations. In light of the clumsy decisions which led to the closure of the building formerly known as Senior House to undergraduates, we ask MIT’s administration for accountability and what new standard operating procedures we can expect going forward.

MIT Senior Leadership and Faculty, we invite you to commit to these values as well. If you feel any of these are unreasonable for one of the best institutions in the world to uphold every day, please issue a public statement so we can continue a new legacy of open and transparent discourse.

As a signatory of this petition, I am in support of the aforementioned values and expectations.

This petition was authored by Katherine Paseman and Rod Bayliss III. If you have any questions, please contact them both at kpaseman@mit.edu and rodbay@mit.edu.

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