Looking Ahead With a Look Back

Weeks have flown by and, just like that, the semester is over and we are in finals week. There are many students already making their exit from campus, hauling suitcases, looking both exhausted and relieved. We wish for them, and for all of the MIT community, a peaceful and restorative break. 

As we look forward, we are excited about the two undergraduate ethics seminars that we will be offering in the Spring. One is our long-running seminar, Being, Doing, Thinking (Or Not!): Ethics in Your Life. The other is a new seminar being offered in partnership with MIT's Educational Jusitice Initiative, Building the Beloved Community: The Ethics of Public Life. This class brings together MIT students and a group of incarcerated students in a minimum-security, pre-release facility in Roslindale. This new initiative has been long in the planning and we're hopeful that it will be a transformational experience for all involved. 

Prior to the semester start, we will be co-hosting a series on the Politics of Defense Spending: Science, Profits, and Endless Wars during IAP in January. We are very fortunate that Dr. Subrata Ghoshroy will return to MIT this January to lead this crucial conversation. He is a former Congressional Science Fellow and member of the Professional Staff of the House Armed Services Committee and has spent his career researching and reporting on US defense spending. Recent reporting has the US price tag for the 18-year war in Afghanistan at $2 trilion. A breakdown of that spending, not to mentioned the tragic loss of life, takes one's breath away. In this series, we will explore not only the endless wars that the US has been waging, but what kinds of research and development projects the military is funding and what we, as citizens, can do to make changes to this system. 

We hosted and co-hosted programs and discussions that were fascinating and terribly sad, challenging and wonderfully inspirational. We witnessed the semester's dramatic start with the revelations of MIT's relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. It sometimes felt as though the crisis was tearing our community apart. There was intense anger and a sense of deep betrayal on so many levels, felt by so many at MIT from professors to just-arrived first year undergrads. Many still think that MIT has lost its ethical way. Some of the community conversations held by the administration weren't particularly well thought-out and, in the case of the "Staff-Only" forum in October, only created more frustration and anger. However, additional forums have been held and the outcomes have been more positive. We will await and see how the MIT Corporation ultimately decides to go forward. 

In tandem with this crisis, there were many postiives. Radius was a co-sponsor of an enlivening "community conversation" event hosted by the PKG Public Service Center. The conversation focused on Tech for Social Good and those in attendance were able to connect with many organizations that are using technology for the good of society rather than following the dollars.  We hosted two events that explored the question of priorities and the federal budget: How do we, as a society, create a moral budget that is just and equitable?

A highlight of the semester was the screening of the film, "November Actions" which documents MIT's most significant campus protests in its history occurring between November 3rd and 5th, 1969. The comments and observations of the respondents who had been involved 50 years ago were candid and moving. Keeping with our tradition of lending a hand to students, we assisted graduate students from EAPS as they organized a panel discussion that examined the ethics of naming an auditorium in the EAPS bullding after a fossil fuel company.  As part of our Hack Your Mind series, we were delighted to co-sponsor a screening of the documentary, The Way Out, with the MIT Office of Sustainability. And there was much more! Please check out our Program page for a full listing of past events, plus what is ahead.

Thank you for being a part of the Radius family. We'll see you in January!