A pair of alumni who graduated five decades ago from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) wrote in an op-ed they can no longer support their alma mater financially because it has caved to “wokeness” and far-left progressive ideology.
“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,” wrote Tom Hafer and Henry I. Miller in an op-ed originally published in City Journal and reprinted by the New York Post. “No more.”
“The current MIT administration has caved repeatedly to the demands of ‘wokeness,’ treating its students unfairly, compromising the quality of its staff, and damaging the institution and academic freedom at large,” they added, going on to cite examples.
Both alums decried MIT’s sacking of its Catholic chaplain, Fr. Daniel Moloney, over a letter he sent to the school’s Catholic community in the early days following the death of George Floyd, when details were not completely clear.
The letter, they said, conveyed Moloney’s thoughts and “was a sincere examination of conscience from a person whose job it was to examine conscience,” but instead of being viewed that way, Moloney was promptly dismissed.
“MIT’s leadership apparently took umbrage at his statement of these simple facts: that George Floyd ‘had not lived a virtuous life’ (based on his multiple criminal convictions) and that ‘most people in the country have framed [Floyd’s death] as an act of racism. I don’t think we know that,'” Hafer and Miller wrote.
They went on to point out that at no point did Moloney condone Floyd’s death, even noting that he wrote specifically, “George Floyd was killed by a police officer, and shouldn’t have been.”
Next, they decried the school’s “new mandatory diversity training,” adding that in the fall of 2020, MIT sent out a letter to students informing them they would not be able to register for spring classes “if they failed to undergo wokeness instruction.”
“The compulsory videos contain deftly worded but fatuous questions implying that straight white males are at the ‘intersection’ of all oppressive behaviors,” the alums wrote. “Everyone else is an oppressed victim, with extra points for being a member of multiple minority groups.”
Finally, the pair ripped MIT for disinviting distinguished geophysicist Dorian Abbot from speaking on campus after he criticized diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives on college and university campuses.
Writing in Newsweek, Abbot, whose work on climate change and planetary studies was previously lauded, wrote that such initiatives “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.”
Rather, he proposed “an alternative framework called Merit, Fairness and Equality (MFE) whereby university applicants are treated as individuals and evaluated through a rigorous and unbiased process based on their merit and qualifications alone.”
But, Hafer and Miller wrote, instead of considering his proposals the university “pandered to a Twitter mob” and canceled Abbot’s lecture.
The two noted that simply pointing out what they found to be offensive and withholding their financial support isn’t good enough on its own, going on to suggest how the school could earn it back by “adopting the following principles of fairness.”
“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,” they wrote.
“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,” they added.
“And finally, adherence to the statements above must not be sacrificed for political, social or public relations considerations,” the two wrote. These truths used to be self-evident; now they are apparently controversial.”
They then asked whether American colleges and universities will “redeem themselves by standing for merit and truth, or will they forfeit the support of countless alumni and donors by surrendering to wokeness?”
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