Ethical Funding

Here, you can find a summary of information regarding ethical funding issues. The UA is soliciting student opinions and proactive solutions regarding the entities which donate towards Institute research.

Below itemizes several donors and instances that have prompted conversations around the issue of ethical funding. This is by no means an exhaustive list, nor an indication of how these issues should be viewed.

Please voice your opinion here.

Jeffery Epstein’s Relationship with the MIT Media Lab

Following recent revelations of Jeffery Epstein’s ties with the Institute, and specifically the MIT Media Lab, MIT has started an independent investigation in order to elucidate the extent to which MIT financially benefitted from Epstein. This investigation is ongoing.

To find out more information regarding this issue, please refer to The Tech article, Media Lab Director Joi Ito resigns after efforts to hide his ties with Epstein are revealed, for a full summary of the facts. More information can also be found through the Office of the President.

The MIT Administration is actively assessing how to more proactively prevent a similar situation. The UA would like to represent student opinions in these conversations.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Relationship with MIT

In October 2018, following the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, President Reif requested a review and recommendations for the future of MIT’s relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This report can be found here.

In a statement released in February 2019, President Reif concurred with recommendations of the report. More information regarding this issue can also be found in The Tech article, Reif decides that MIT will not sever ties with Saudi Arabia.

While the report and decision following this tragedy have concluded, this instance represents an important facet in the conversation around ethical funding.

Schwarzman College of Computing

With the recent announcement of MIT’s plans to open a new college, many questions have been raised about MIT’s role in accepting the donation of College’s planned namesake, Steven A. Schwarzman.

More information about the College of Computing itself can be found on its website, its original announcement, and the corresponding FAQ. Information about recent decisions regarding the College’s establishment can be found in the reports of the College of Computing Task Force.

Many points that were raised with regards to Schwarzman’s donation were summarized in an OpEd published in The Tech entitled Celebrating war criminals at MIT’s ‘ethical’ College of Computing, signed by 18 members of the Institute community, including students, faculty, and staff. The UA does not officially endorse the opinions voiced in this piece.