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Do women belong at MIT? An alumnus speaks:

SLF notmyaddress at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 4 02:54:49 EST 2000

Recently MIT decided to send all its alumni their alumni magazine,
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
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
about MIT  that they thought it appropriate to air this  anti-women
Maybe it makes some of the other alumni feel better, which is a sad

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

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
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.

MIT PhD 1989

DON'T REPLY to the email address in header.
It's an anti-spam.  Use the one below.
S L Forsburg, PhD  Associate Professor
Molecular Biology and Virology Lab
The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA
forsburg at salk.edu

Women in Biology Internet Launch Page
"These are my opinions.  I don't have
time to speak for anyone else."


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