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Do women belong at MIT? An alumnus speaks:

Fisher, Roxanne RFisher at Chatham.edu
Mon Sep 4 12:22:07 EST 2000


You're right about alumni rags being "feel good' publications.  I call the
alumni magazine for Swarthmore (where I went to college) "Overachiever's
Anonymous" because everyone featured in it is doing so well.  I do enjoy
reading it and they do publish dissenting opinions in the letter to the
magazine, but not cranky old guys like this!

Another thought- the title of the magazine sounds like it's a more serious
magazine(Technology Review) so it's possible that this could get quoted
somewhere else and readers wouldn't realize the source of the quote.  Makes
my skin crawl!

Roxanne






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**
Roxanne H. Fisher                                  rfisher at chatham.edu
Assistant Professor of Biology                  phone (412)365-1893
Chatham College                                     fax (412)365-1505
Woodland Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
***********************************************************************



-----Original Message-----
From: notmyaddress at hotmail.com [mailto:notmyaddress at hotmail.com]
Sent: Monday, September 04, 2000 3:55 AM
To: bionet-women-in-bio at net.bio.net
Subject: Do women belong at MIT? An alumnus speaks:


Recently MIT decided to send all its alumni their alumni magazine,
Technology
Review, for free.   In an article about the 50th year reunion of the
class of 1950,
there was the following quote (p MIT 6 of the MIT News insert):

"One alumnus, Ralph Horne '50, found the fact that 42 percent of the
student body is now made up of women to be unbelievable, and perhaps
even detrimental.  'Women do not have a good track record in the
sciences.
Some women are very smart and some have very good study habits.
They performed well in high school and they very well could perform
at MIT,' Horne xplained. 'But science is like art.  You have to have a
creative gift and that canot be taught.  The historical record for women

in science isn't very encouraging.'"

Now, just why do you suppose that they felt the need in the alumni
magazine to give Mr Horne the opportunity to imply that women don't
belong at MIT ?  Alumni magazines are supposed to be feel-good
organs  of the institution.  It certainly doesn't  make me feel very
good
about MIT  that they thought it appropriate to air this  anti-women
attitude.
Maybe it makes some of the other alumni feel better, which is a sad
thought.

The article went on:

"But women are here to stay at the institute and most alumni attending
Tech Reunions praised MIT for recognizing their talent and
contribution."

Somehow, that didn't cure the bad taste left in my mouth from Mr Horne's

little tirade.  Why was it necessary to include his unpleasant  comments
at all?
In what way was his opinion on women's scientific talents
relevant to the story of the reunion?

I will be writing a letter to Technology Review
(comments at techreview.com)
and the president of the alumni association (alumpres at alum.mit.edu) to
query their editorial decision to air this  gentleman's  unfortunate
remarks.
I urge other MIT alumni/ae who agree with me to do the same.

Despite the recent efforts of the MIT faculty to make things more
inclusive, it
would appear that the MIT community still has a long ways to go.

--
-susan
MIT PhD 1989

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