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Newsweek errs on MIT facts

MIT President Charles M. Vest, in a memo to colleagues last Thursday, pointed out factual errors about MIT in a Newsweek article concerning cutting costs at universities. The memo said:

"Many of you may have seen an article in Newsweek Magazine (April 29) about the costs and budget-cutting efforts of colleges and universities. The article contains two big mistakes about MIT's early retirement incentive program. The article said that MIT had a goal of reducing the staff by 1,400, when in fact that number refers to the number of faculty and staff who are eligible for this generally well-received program.

"When we announced the program, our expectation was that about one third of those eligible would take the option, including as many as 50 faculty members. Right now, it appears that somewhat fewer than 400 staff members (on campus and at Lincoln Laboratory) and about 40 faculty members have indicated a strong interest in the program. The purpose of the faculty program is intellectual renewal, not reduction of the size of the faculty. [The numbers have since risen, but the totals were not known as Tech Talk went to press.]

"Newsweek also erred in writing about Building 20. They confused what was termed 'relocation' costs with what are actually costs of renovating spaces for Building 20 occupants in Buildings 16 and 56 and in other facilities."

Building 20 is scheduled to be demolished in 1998 when renovations of Buildings 16 and 56 are finished, Senior Vice President William R. Dickson said.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 1, 1996.

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