Saturday, February 24, 2024

Dear City of Cambridge Planning Board:

As senior faculty members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, we have spent much of our careers trying to enhance the institution’s contribution to education and to new knowledge and technologies. Many Cambridge resident MIT faculty members have been involved in efforts to increase the synergy between the institute and the city of Cambridge.

We support the further development of the east end of the MIT campus to enhance MIT’s educational and research contributions to the nation’s needs and to enhance its contribution and interaction with the Cambridge community.

Unfortunately, the MITIMCo petition does not support the above goals. It emphasizes return on real estate investment through commercial development of irreplaceable campus land at the expense of MIT’s educational and research needs. In our judgment this use of limited campus land for commercial development will undermine MIT’s unique abilities to contribute to solving national problems through education and advanced research, and it will dilute its contribution to the Cambridge community.

Many of us are deeply concerned over the absence of any provision for graduate student housing in the MITIMCo proposal. Our graduate students have identified housing as perhaps the most acute need in the MIT academic community. The east end of the campus is a natural and available location for construction of graduate housing. Construction of such housing would significantly reduce the pressure on apartment costs in Cambridge.

In its present form the MITIMCo petition does not represent the views of the MIT faculty at large. Very few faculty members have seen the presentation made to the Planning Board. No discussion or debate of the petition has been held at an MIT faculty meeting. Thus the petition has not been received, discussed or approved by the faculty.

The report of the MIT Provost’s Task Force on Community Engagement in 2030 Planning has been distributed to the faculty (but not debated or approved). Indeed, many of the concerns raised in the report reflect views that have been expressed in articles and editorials in the MIT Faculty Newsletter.

We request that you take this information into account in making your determination.


Nazli Choucri (professor of Political Science); Gordon Kauffman (Morris A. Adelman professor of Management); Jonathan King (professor of Molecular Biology); Jean Jackson (professor of Anthropology); Helen Elaine Lee (Ass. professor of Humanities) David H. Marks (Goulder professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering); Ruth Perry (Ann Fetter Friedlaender professor of Humanities); Frank Soloman (professor of Biology); Stephen J. Lippard (Arthur Amos Noyes Prof of Chemistry); George C. Verghese (professor of Electrical Engineering)