by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
We graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology more than 50 years ago. 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.
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.
We object to MIT’s politically correct measures, including the firing of its Catholic chaplain.
In the early days of the George Floyd protests, before the details of Floyd’s death were clear, Father Daniel Moloney sent a letter outlining his thoughts on the event to the university’s Catholic community. It was a sincere examination of conscience from a person whose job it was to examine conscience, yet it prompted his immediate dismissal. 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.”
Moloney did not present these statements as justification for Floyd’s death; to the contrary, his letter begins, “George Floyd was killed by a police officer, and shouldn’t have been.” But MIT found the letter intolerable and fired the chaplain. (We are not Catholic, by the way, but believe fairness transcends religion.)
We also deplore MIT’s new mandatory diversity training. In the autumn of 2020, MIT sent an e-mail to new and current students informing them that they would be unable to register for spring classes if they failed to undergo wokeness instruction.