With war in Iraq imminent, MIT plans to remain open and operational during all levels of homeland security alert. The alert was raised to orange, or high alert, shortly after President Bush's speech Monday night.
Residence halls have developed evacuation plans and identified safe areas on the premises. If an emergency occurs, those charged with implementing the plans will be notified. Coordinators for nonresidential buildings have been appointed.
The MIT Police department has increased security at key locations on and off campus and has joined the Statewide Anti-Terrorism Uniform Response Network (SATURN), which includes state, federal and local agencies.
MIT Medical has protocols for emergencies and maintains close relationships with Massachusetts General Hospital and Mt. Auburn Hospital. MIT Medical's psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers are available for individual and group counseling.
Housemasters, graduate resident tutors and residential life associates can provide advice and support for students as well as recommend other campus resources.
The Department of Facilities and the Office of Environmental Health and Safety team also have increased their emergency readiness.
In a message posted on its web site, the Committee on Community urged all members of the community to be prepared as well. "We encourage everyone to set up and keep with you an individual emergency plan, including phone numbers of family and close friends, important e-mail addresses and other concrete ways to contact them. Knowing schedules and likely locations of family and friends is an important element of such a plan," the panel said.
For additional information, see http://web.mit.edu/community/participate/respond.html.
Students plan walkout
MIT students are organizing a campus-wide walkout from classes and offices to protest the war. Anne M. Pollock, a graduate student in the Program in Science, Technology and Society, is a member of a group of undergraduate and graduate students planning the walkout, which is to begin at 11:30 a.m. on the day after war begins. "It's our ethical obligation," said Pollock of the walkout, which is planned to last one hour.
A memo from the MIT Anti-War Coalition stated that more than 800 students, faculty and staff have signed a pledge committing to the midday walkout.
Student organizers said the walkout will be followed by a rally on the steps of the Stratton Student Center; a solidarity march to Boston with Harvard, Wellesley and Tufts students; and a mass demonstration in Government Center. For more information, see http://nowar.mit.edu.
United Trauma Relief will be fund-raising for the humanitarian relief efforts in Iraq in Lobby 10 and in the Stratton Student Center for the rest of this week and after spring break.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 19, 2003.