A parent shares the results of her investigation into MIT’s participation in the Healthy Minds Study
To the editor:
In Spring of 2015, my son and about 1300 of his fellow undergraduates at MIT participated in a survey conducted by the Healthy Minds Study (HMS). When the final results of that survey were released one year later, the MIT administration took actions specifically focused on the residents of one dorm, Senior House, justifying it by mentioning survey data concerning mental health and substance use issues in the residence.
My son was dismayed to hear of the actions taken, since like other students he had believed the housing data gathered was based on the broad categories asked in the survey such as on or off campus housing, not by specific living group. Although, not living at Senior House, he was not directly impacted by the administrations actions, he stated that if he had known how the data would be used against fellow students he would never have participated.
Thousands of hours of student time were lost preparing for, attending, and following up on meetings that were part of the official Turnaround, Probation, and Readmission processes for Senior House, all of which failed. These failures can be attributed to poor leadership. The Turnaround process lacked clear goals, objectives, and evaluation criteria. The Probation process lacked clear goals, objectives, and evaluation criteria. The Readmission process had the vague goal of creating “a new community” but no clear evaluation criteria.
Three presidents of MIT’s LGBTQ organizations respond to Pilot 2021. [READ MORE]
We have expressed our concerns to the administration regarding the consequences of their plans to repopulate Senior House and adopt the new Pilot 2021 program. We met with Chancellor Barnhart and Dean Nelson to voice our fears that their vision for a “new community” will not preserve the queer-affirming space that has existed in Senior House, and will scatter its LGBTQ population across campus…
They have told us their concerns that maintaining Senior House as a queer-affirming space will unfairly pressure the new community into adopting values of the old. The number of upperclassmen who want to return to Senior House to maintain a queer-affirming community and the interest expressed by many first-years toward such a space leads us to believe that this concern is mostly unfounded. We feel the overwhelming positive contributions of the LGBTQ community in Senior House are being unappreciated and undervalued, and that administration is ignoring a demonstrable demand from incoming and current students to uphold a queer-affirming environment in Senior House.
The demographic statistics of MIT Dormitories are available below for context. LBGTQ Identifying (%LGB) is indicted on the X-axis; Underrepresented Minorities (%URM) is indicated on the Y-axis. Red lines indicate 25%.
Students are being told, we need troublemakers. But in the case of Senior House, not troublemakers like you. [READ MORE]
A Senior Haus alum who moved the fuck on. Don’t worry about it. [READ MORE]
Several Alumni are archiving and cataloging the hundreds of murals in Senior House before they are slated to be whitewashed. You can view them here:
So much thanks to those doing the work.
Mural Veeps: Paula Marie Countouris, Katy Ilonka Gero
Video: Tara Ebsworth, Julian Lemus
Preservation: Gabe Cira
Editing: Logan Williams
Photography: Jenn Marcos, Katy Gero, Emile Daigle, Elisa Young, Paula Marie, Jessica Adams
More Thank Yous: Josh Gordonson, Seph Aliquo, Quentin Smith, Helen McCarthy, Matt Weston, Andrei Ivanov, Milena Pagán, Ike Feitler, Sabrina Madera, Gabriel Teixeira, Abraham Quintero
Alumni have written countless letters to the MIT administration, and we are attempting to count those letters. These (somewhat) personal communications are an important part of the Senior House Community narrative and their collective message and experience are powerful. Please copy and paste your letter using the form below. You can choose to remain anonymous if you prefer, simply indicate so in the required fields.