Stirring the pot at MIT
Professor’s account of discussing race, diversity, and inclusion sparks an impassioned response
MIT engineering professor James Williams is a disturber of the spheres. In 1991 he sat outside then-MIT president Charles Vest’s office, observing a weekly fast to protest the lack of black faculty at MIT and what he called the Institute’s “neo-colonial’’ treatment of black students. Williams is stirring the pot again. An article by MIT physics professor Edmund Bertschinger that appeared in the MIT Faculty Newsletter drove him up the wall. Williams found Bertschinger’s account of discussing diversity questions at “catered luncheons’’ to be precious in the extreme.