Liveblogging the SayNO protest at the MIT Corporation meeting

Update 8:27am: House Dining Advisory Group member and Simmons associate housemaster Steve Hall stopped by the Media Lab at about 8:20 specifically to talk to the protesters, but left soon after because he didn’t want their conversation to be covered by The Tech.

During his short conversation with the protesters, he said, “I’m worried about how this fire [the controversy over the dining plan] got out of control…[F]olks who want to live one way are telling other folks how to live.”

Chandran responded that he thought Hall’s argument could cut both ways: Yes, the HDAG dining plan might allow students to choose to live in non-dining-hall dorms, but there might not be enough beds to accommodate all the students who don’t want to purchase a dining plan.

Update 8:25am: It seems that, by now, most all of corporation members have arrived at the Media Lab and headed upstairs to their meeting.

Update 8:20am: Ravi Chandran ’14 pulled a few of the other protesters aside several minutes ago to talk about how to get the corporation members to stop to speak with them: “You’ve got to stand in front of them,” he advises his co-protesters.  By now, another five or seven protesters have trickled in.  They’re chatting about the difficulties of showing up anywhere at 8am as students.  Corporation members? “They’re used to this,” one student chimes in.

Update 8:18am: The protesters have handed petitions to about five corporation members so far.  At least as many arriving corporation members have rushed past the group, telling the students that they are late for the meeting.

Update 8:08am: Eight protesters, mostly from Next House, have showed up so far.  SayNO campaign and protest organizer Keone Hon ’11 just collected the group to discuss their M.O., which is to tell corporation members the purpose of the protest and hand them a copy of the SayNO petition, which has been signed by 1,827 MIT community members.

This morning I’ll be liveblogging the SayNO campaign protest at the MIT corporation meeting, which is beginning at 8:30 in the new Media Lab.

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DISCUSS: Is Kanye’s new album really all that?

In Friday’s Tech, Jeff Chen dismisses the hype surrounding the “imma let you finish” artist’s latest release:

The album absolutely reeks of a grandiose bombast that one could only expect from a child like Kanye, who is still about as brash and as woefully arrogant as an 18-year-old boy who had just experienced sex for the very first time.

In short, Chen says My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is good, but not that good – and certainly not Pitchfork 10 good.

But what do you think? Is MBDTF a masterpiece or just mundane? Comment below!

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SayNO campaign will have sit-in at Corporation meeting to protest dining

Keone Hon ’11, organizer of the SayNO campaign against the new dining plan has announced a sit-in protest at the MIT Corporation’s quarterly meeting today.

In an e-mail blasted to campus mailing lists around 1:25 a.m., Hon asked students to drop by from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the lobby of the new Media Lab today to show Corporation members their discontent with the new dining plan.

The event will include food and t-shirts, Hon said in the e-mail. He encouraged students to wear red in solidarity.

Those who signed the SayNo petition have said that the dining proposal is too expensive and will disrupt the culture of living groups. They also accuse the administration of ignoring student complaints about the proposal.

In response, the administration released an amended dining proposal on Monday that added a $2,500/year “transition” meal plan — $400 less than the next cheapest option, but only available to the classes of 2012 and 2013.

“We’re offering the transition plan that will allow dorm cultures to stay intact,” senior associate dean of residential life and dining Henry J. Humphreys told The Tech on Monday.

In the same article, Hon responded, “These changes are absolutely not adequate enough. As articulated in the petition, we don’t accept ‘grandfathering’ as an acceptable solution.”

The Tech will be covering the protest, so look for updates on the main website and the blog. The full text of Hon’s e-mail is after the jump.

Continue reading

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LGBT@MIT reboots “You Are Welcome Here” campaign

Notice the new rainbow cards everywhere?

Responding to high-profile gay suicides and anti-gay bullying in the news, LGBT@MIT has relaunched its “You Are Welcome Here” campaign with a new logo, new website, and new informational materials.

The campaign asks staff and faculty to display the logo prominently on doors and windows to create a welcoming atmosphere for gay or questioning students.

(More info at the News Office.)

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Anna Tang trial restarted today — Tang’s mental illness is central question

Michael Mufson

Anna Tang’s trial re-started today, after it had stopped June. The bulk of the day was testimony by her treating psychopharmocologist, Dr. Michael Mufson, as a witness for the defense. Mufson’s testimony held up fairly well under cross-examination, and supports a finding that she was not criminally responsible at the time of the stabbing because of her mental illness.

The trial ran from 9 a.m. at 3 p.m. today, and resumes tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. The defense is expected to call Dr. Eric Brown, Tang’s psychologist, and the prosecution is expected to call Dr. Alison Fife.

Tang’s trial was halted on June 30 after the Commonwealth’s expert psychiatrist suddenly changed her mind and decided Tang might be criminally responsible for her actions. Tang’s lawyers accused victim Wolfe Styke’s mother of lobbying the psychiatrist:

The Commonwealth’s forensic psychiatrist in the case, Dr. Alison Fife, had submitted a report to the Court in May indicating that she believed Tang was not criminally responsible for the stabbing: that Tang did not appreciate the wrongfulness of her behavior and lacked the ability to conform her behavior to the requirements of the law.

On the basis of the Fife report, Tang waived her right to a jury trial and proceeded with a bench trial before the judge.

The defense alleged that victim’s mother, Gwen Styke, had “extensive contact” with Fife and that led to Fife “suddenly and belatedly” changing her opinion. George’s motion calls this part of “a series of untoward and disturbing events.” Styke denies meeting with Fife, and a spokeswoman for the Middlesex District Attorney’s office, Jessica Venezia Pastore, denies contact took place.

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From the Department of Counting Your Chickens…

Residential Life is inviting freshmen to a free luncheon this Friday (Dec. 3) in the Student Center to celebrate “you completing your 1st semester at MIT.” So what if the last day of classes is actually next Thursday (Dec. 9)?

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Man who died at Kendall was Muslim studies scholar and librarian at MIT

Omar Khalidi, 57, was struck and killed by a T train on Monday at the Kendall Square station, the MIT News Office reports.

Khalidi, a scholar who wrote about Muslims in India, was the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture librarian at MIT.

Services will be held for him this Wednesday at at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center.

The News Office says there will also be an MIT service some time later.

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New and improved classes–coming to you via Singapore

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published an in-depth piece on a new Singaporean university that MIT is helping to develop.  The school, which is “meant to road-test the latest in teaching theory and academic features,” is flaunting its MIT affiliation:

One selling point of the institution, which is to start classes on a temporary campus in 2012, is that it is associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. On many renderings of the logo, the words “Established in collaboration with MIT” appear in red letters, suggesting that the new venture expects to replicate the prestigious U.S. university.

MIT students might benefit from this new collaboration, as professors involved in the collaboration plan to test their own new teaching ideas at the school.

This article includes some other interesting tidbits about MIT’s history with these sorts of ventures, which have not always been successful:

MIT has had mixed success in exporting its brand. It was forced to close branch campuses of its Media Lab in Ireland and India after only a few years of operation, after they failed to gain enough financial support. But it has long worked well with universities in Singapore. For years the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology has supported joint research, and MIT helps run the thriving Singapore-MIT Gambit Game Lab to explore video-game design.

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Student center water is back

Numerous signs alert students to an early building closure on November 28th at 10 p.m. due to a water main break. LIZ D'ARIENZO--THE TECH

Bathrooms were cordoned off throughout the building on Sunday. LIZ D'ARIENZO--THE TECH

Signs were posted around the elevators, warning students of the early building shutdown. LIZ D'ARIENZO--THE TECH

(UPDATED 2:01 a.m.) Water has returned to the Student Center, and the building should reopen in a couple hours, according to the Campus Activities Complex.

(UPDATED 11:13 p.m.) The Student Center is closing from 10 p.m. onward tonight because of a water main break on Mass. Ave. that has left the building without running water.

It is unclear when the building will reopen, according to the Campus Activities Complex, which order the shutdown Sunday evening.

Earlier on Sunday, students returning from their Thanksgiving break were greeted by orange, yellow, and white signs plastered on the doors of the Student Center announcing the lack of water in the building due to an emergency water shutoff. Bathrooms were also cordoned off with tape.

Later this evening, yellow signs hastily attached with strips of blue masking tape appeared next to the elevators announcing that an emergency building shutdown would take place at 10 p.m. At close to 10 p.m., employees in various stores were seen cleaning and preparing to leave the building.

All vendors in the Student Center are now closed, including LaVerde’s.

Groups of students gathered in front of LaVerdes, and an employee opened the glass doors a crack to tell them that because the building was closing at 10 p.m., they were now closed. When asked to comment on how LaVerde’s had dealt with not having access to running water all day, he looked back over his shoulder and said to return the next day because everyone was in a rush trying to close up shop.

At Anna’s, an employee named Betty said, “Our manager has been bringing in big bottles of water from the outside.” She noted that due to the lack of running water, their manager had brought in bottled water, and they were using hand sanitizer instead of soap and water.

As the building slowly shut down, students were seen leaving the Athena cluster and reading rooms on the 5th floor. Andrew Chen said about the early building closure, “It’s a little annoying because I was planning on working here. It would be more annoying if I had more work.”

As of 10:30 p.m., many students on the fourth floor were still unaware that the building was supposed to have closed at 10 p.m.

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So this genre of dance has been ‘hot’ for a while in both Europe and spread to Korea last year with several CFs (Commercial Films; longer-length TV advertisements) featuring young Korean celebrities performing tecktonik. However, the tecktonik fever is starting to hit US too as youtube after youtube videos showcase ‘how to learn tecktonik’.  The tecktonik movement started in the Metropolis nightclubs of France in the 2000s. Usually performed to electro house music, it’s…more akin to writhing and spazzing of the limbs than dancing. There’s a mix of Bboy moves, hip-hop, Eurotrash clubbing, and other streetstyle dancing.

See for yourself:

One of the most famous videos to Yelle’s “A Causes des Garcons”

A CF for Etude, a Korean makeup brand featuring Go Ara and Jang Geun Suk, two popular Korean celebrities:

A guy does it on the subway, much to the aghast of elderly ladies.

A guy does it in a shopping mart. Ridic.

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