It is a shame to think that one of the most distinctive aspects of MIT that supports the creativity of its students, i.e., the undergraduate housing system, may be heading in the direction of Dave Eggers’ novel The Circle. As a “child of Florey” (class of 1980), I participated in activities that were not necessarily permissible, but were part of growing up. My first date with my future wife included sitting on the minor dome watching traffic move up and down Mass Ave. I became friends with the EC building manager Norm Magneson (of blessed memory), after he made me repaint the exterior of my fifth floor window frame from the optic orange I had painted it (who knew that you could only paint the interior of your room?) only later to realize that he made a student go out onto the fifth floor ledge!
The placement of cameras to constantly monitor the activities of MIT students would create an environment not unlike that of the world of The Circle, in which “ALL THAT HAPPENS MUST BE KNOWN”. This is a time for students to make some mistakes and grow from these experiences. Administrators who advocate for these policies should “go transparent” and elect to wear video cameras 24/7 to see what a bad idea this is and how it would stifle the human spirit.
Long live Jack Florey and the East Campus/Senior House lifestyle.