Monday, March 4, 2019 - 5:30pm
On March 4, 1969, there was an extraordinary mass meeting of MIT faculty, students and staff to protest MIT's complicity in the Vietnam War. This was considered a "positive protest" and included plans for positive action. Included in the storied panel of speakers were Noam Chomsky, Leon Trilling and Nobel Laureate George Wald. Wald's speech "A Generation in Search of a Future" became known world-wide. In addition, the day marks the founding of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Join us for an exploration of the power of protest at MIT focusing on this momentous moment in MIT's history. What can we learn from previous protests and use that knowledge and energy to spur the Institute to create ethical policies?
We will screen excerpts of November Actions: Defiance at MIT,1969--a powerful documentary following the protests of MIT students, faculty and staff against the war in Vietnam and MIT's complicity in that war--protests that lead to the historic March 4th event.
This will be followed by a moderated conversation with a panel to provide focused discussion on four pressing issues facing the MIT community:
The Ethics of AI: Abby Everett Jaques, a philosopher at MIT, is the Ethics lead for MIT’s Quest for Intelligence, and a Research Fellow in Digital Ethics at the Jain Family Institute
MIT's on-going relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Ryan Costello, Coalition to Stop the Genocide in Yemen
Climate Changea and Sustainability: David Hsu is an Associate Professor in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, studying energy, water, and environmental policy in cities. David is also affiliated with the MIT Energy Initiative, MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design, and the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative, and assists DUSP Climate, a student-led group focusing on climate actions.
Local Impact of MIT: Housing: Rose Lenehan, MIT Graduate Student in Philosophy and tenant organizer
Moderator: David Wright, PhD, Senior Scientist and Co-Director, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
Introductory Remarks: Deborah G. Douglas, Director of Collections and Curator of Science and Technology at MIT Museum, and Research Associate in MIT's Program in Science, Technology, and Society
This event will be a starting point for additional programs, lunches, panels later on in spring 2019, focusing more specifically on these issues. Participants at the MIT March 4 @ 50 Years event would be able to sign up for follow-up programming.
The MIT Press has recently published March 4, Anniversary Edition: Scientists, Students, and Society, edited by Jonathan Allen and foreword by Kurt Gottfriend, co-founder of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Refreshments will be served.
From the MIT Press: The anniversary for March 4: Scientists, Students, and Society (9780262536653) is finally upon us and as promised, here is the article by student organizer Alan Chodos in Inside Higher Ed: https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2019/03/04/50th-anniversary-protest-scientists-points-similarities-and-differences-position
Also, we have posted an excerpt of Noam Chomsky’s speech on “Responsibility” at our press blog: https://mitpress.mit.edu/blog/responsibility-noam-chomsky-delivered-march-4-1969-protests-mit Hard not to read it and not feel inspired to reflect on one’s own obligations and responsibilities toward making the world a better place.