listed here are the remarks, as ready for delivery, by President L. Rafael Reif at these days’s Institute professors meeting.
Great afternoon, and welcome to our very first faculty conference of the season.
Out of equity to your colleagues when you look at the Media Lab, i do want to start with a modification towards agenda that people distributed to professors this week. The title for this part read “Media Lab.”
But it is apparent that the topics we will talk about this afternoon concern each of MIT.
I’d like to just take this minute expressing my appreciation into Media Lab professors, students and staff, and to the interim leadership group, that are working so very hard to begin a fresh part.
Over the past couple weeks, our entire community has skilled deep discomfort, sadness and frustration. Lots of you’ve got expressed those emotions if you ask me right. I know that numerous of you tend to be crazy towards entire scenario, and crazy at myself.
But i shall perhaps not presume that I know or know how everyone tend to be feeling or the method that you have observed these events. Discovering more about that is a main goal of this conference.
I recognize this is just a disorienting time for all of us in the Institute. We have spent my whole career in this neighborhood and this organization. I keep an eye out after all of you this afternoon, and I also see faculty colleagues We have recognized for years, and others just at the beginning of amazing professions. I see students who have plumped for MIT given that place to begin their particular journey.
I see staff just who found MIT particularly to aid the Institute’s inspiring work. And I are reading from alumni throughout the world whom worry deeply towards strength and stature of the institution.
I understand every body are hard as you’re able to day-after-day to advance our mission. And I understand you might be used to experiencing pleased with MIT.
I will be too.
Thus I was deeply distressed, and I was profoundly sorry, that actions which I yet others took, and failed to take, being part of taking this difficulty to all the people – to the people of MIT.
I realize that We have let you down and destroyed your trust me, which our actions have hurt both Institute’s reputation while the material of your neighborhood.
Yet In addition know that MIT’s reputation is solidly rooted into the brilliant work which you and our entire community are doing, and revealing because of the globe, for many years, and that you will definitely continue doing. And I also know that the textile of MIT is incredibly powerful. I hope the discussion we today would have been a first step towards restoring that textile – and which makes it also more powerful.
The objective of today’s conference is to hear the problems of faculty and students, to-do our better to answer your questions and to assist the Institute commence to restore its stability
Before we start the conversation, I wish to address three concerns I have heard continuously within the last few few days after which emphasize two things i’ve learned within the last thirty days. To the concerns:
Initially: people have been asking how the results of the fact-finding is likely to be shared with the city. The decision on this matter rests with all the group that we report to: the Executive Committee regarding the MIT Corporation.
The purpose of the review is to deliver clarity towards the interactions with Epstein to ensure that we can correct just what moved wrong, and work together to ascertain axioms to prevent such a thing like it from taking place again. I do maybe not discover how or just what the Executive Committee will choose to share. But i understand that they are mindful, when I am, that, as MIT starts to get over this period of stress, important information needs to be shared, and so the neighborhood might have confidence into the fact-finding process.
Second: Many students have asked how I could have signed that acknowledgment page without asking questions, and exactly how i possibly could fail to keep in mind it. The answer is simple: I didn’t recognize the name, and I also sign numerous standard thank-you letters each week. That includes a few hundred letters on a yearly basis thanking people for efforts into Institute.
Third: I know that for all of you, the four letters i’ve provided for the city since August 22 were maddening – a drip-drip-drip of information. I make no excuses for the frustrating outcome, and I undoubtedly desire i really could have done it differently. However in each case, I was giving an answer to the reality I had at the time. Therefore I would like to describe why we delivered all of those letters.
On August 22, we penned given that it appeared crucial to share everything we knew then towards total of Epstein’s gifts to MIT, to apologize toward girls and ladies he victimized, also to commence to make amends by committing to add the cash up to a appropriate charity by starting an interior review.
On September 7th, after the New Yorker article, the situation clearly demanded external fact-finding, and so I published once more. Two days later, we penned once more to make sure the city heard from me, not through the media, that we had engaged a fact-finding team at Goodwin Procter.
That page was also crucial that you give people a primary solution to share information using the factfinders and share the first next tips the Media Lab community. The ultimate page conveyed new information that the factfinders had discovered – information that I didn’t have clarity about before then. I desired to dispel any assumptions you might have attracted from my early in the day letters and exchange all of them with definite facts, right away.
I understand this final page in particular generated confusion and dismay. I happened to be attempting to communicate “just the important points” of what I had learned from the factfinders, without editorializing about them. But after hearing from lots of you, I understand given that, unfortunately, you understood me to be attempting to distance myself from responsibility for the activities and decisions included. We particularly regret that, as it is the exact opposite of what I meant.
In the long run, when I have said, We made errors of view. I simply take responsibility for those errors. And I also desire to simply take duty the work that have to begin now: fixing the damage and rebuilding trust.
MIT is known for its readiness to face difficult details, and run towards issues, not away from all of them. I am trying to do this now.
We’re currently taking some actions because path:
As you know, I asked Provost Marty Schmidt to introduce an interior breakdown of how we assess donor relationships and gift agreements, therefore we can correct the defects inside our procedure and methods. He’ll talk shortly about this in a moment, and concerning the change group in the Media Lab.
The outside lawyer, Goodwin Procter, is completely engaged in its fact-finding now. At the end of my remarks, Vice President and General Counsel Mark DiVincenzo will provide an enhance thereon procedure.
And continue on our earlier in the day commitment, we have been working together with MIT’s workplace of Violence Prevention and Response to recognize appropriate charities that serve sufferers of intimate punishment, like Jeffrey Epstein’s youthful victims – the sufferers whose suffering we neglected to see.
Which brings me to what I discovered.
The practical tips I just pointed out are essential. But the two reviews focus primarily on process. And, as many people have actually explained really demonstrably, we have a procedure issue – exactly what we really have actually is just a culture issue, due to the fact, as I am discovering, our processes and practices mirror some entrenched and destructive attitudes and cultural presumptions at MIT.
I believe they belong to two groups:
The foremost is around money. From conversations across our community, I know that many folks have deep problems about resources we’ve relied on to raise funds the work regarding the Institute. Inside time of developing fortunes and shrinking national funds, we have to view everything from the switching nature of this donor population to how we should weigh the political, social and economic impacts of donors’ behavior. We have to analyze the issues associated with anonymous giving – and a lot more.
In a nutshell, people are informing me that to guide the way we choose to accept philanthropic gift ideas, we must create a new set of concepts, demonstrably grounded within community’s values. We agree.
We also need to focus on addressing the ability connections and other social elements that held men and women, especially students and staff, from experiencing they could question or end bad choices a lot sooner.
For me, the previous couple of weeks are an occasion to think on the amazing bravery for the several members of the Media Lab which took the possibility of calling out of the bad judgments and bad methods they saw. Being an organization, we owe all of them a financial obligation of appreciation.
And beyond the serious issues around gifts and donors, We have heard another section of intense concern. Female faculty, post-docs, students and staff across MIT tend to be informing myself that is just a “last-straw” minute, that enabling Jeffrey Epstein to stain our reputation was just the newest illustration of exactly how many within our neighborhood, and tech world as a whole, devalue the life, experiences and efforts of females and girls.
Im humbled that it took this cascade of misjudgments in my situation to truly see this persistent dynamic and appreciate its complete influence. It’s now obvious in my experience that the culture that authorized the mistakes around Jeffrey Epstein has actually prevailed for way too lengthy at MIT. We must end looking away from bad behavior and begin making the effort to see just what it costs united states as community. This moment of crisis ought to be the minute of reckoning – as well as a change towards genuine accountability.
The concerns raised within the last month are profound, especially the social ones. Some have actually also asked if MIT has actually lost its means – if the Institute we all love has changed basically and irretrievably. In my situation, the solution is definitely an emphatic no. MIT remains MIT. It is still the remarkable neighborhood that received people in the first place.
But this distressful duration has actually shed a harsh new light on some aspects of our culture which are offering us really badly.
Since I have played a job in this problem, i’m a deep responsibility to help fix a method plus tradition that were unsuccessful the folks of MIT.
We need to recognize and root out of the social aspects that added to these troubling errors and effects, so we can possibly prevent damage like this later on. We have to analyze honestly what exactly is wrong and come together to improve it. We are in need of much better procedures, needless to say – much better administrative guardrails. But we should also make sure, from our concepts to your culture, the trail ahead is shaped by our community’s crucial values. Because everything we truly want actually values path so clear and fast that individuals never have to run up resistant to the guardrails anyway.
I really do genuinely believe that organizations are capable of severe, deliberate modification. Along with MIT’s various other senior leaders, i’m devoted to, and I have always been particular we are with the capacity of, genuine modification.
But cultural modification may be the most difficult of most. Therefore attaining this change will require the suffered commitment and creativity associated with the whole neighborhood.
To phrase it differently – we need your assistance. I need your assistance.
Today, I know that the main thing that I and MIT’s various other senior frontrunners can perform to “run toward” this issue is listen – to hear everyone.
This can be a tough moment, but MIT will study from it – I have learned as a result, i’ll hold trying to master as a result, my senior leadership will study on it. I hope I’m able to commence to regain your trust – and I genuinely believe that collectively we are able to, and we will, look for a useful path ahead.