Letter from MIT President Charles Vest


Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Krueger

104 Stonehenge Drive

Orchard Park, NY 14127

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Krueger,

I am grateful that Rosalind Williams and I were able to talk with you and come to understand even more deeply your family's unimaginable anguish over Scott's death. Despite your trust in MIT, things went terribly awry. At a very personal level, I feel that we at MIT failed you and Scott. For this you have our profound apology.

The death of Scott as a freshman living in an MIT fraternity shows that our approach to alcohol education and policy, and our freshman housing options were inadequate. I am deeply sorry for this.

Scott's death galvanized us to action. It impelled us to greatly intensify our consideration and accelerate our actions with regard to alcohol, our housing system, and other issues of student life and learning. Starting in 2002, when additional housing has been constructed, all of our freshmen will be required to live for their first year in residence halls. Our approach to alcohol education as well as to policies regarding its use -- and their enforcement -- have been greatly strengthened. We are building a stronger sense of community and community responsibility. All this takes longer than I would like, and will never be perfect, but MIT is, and will be, a better institution for having undertaken substantial change.

I am a parent, and have devoted my entire career to teaching and academic administration because I believe in young people and in the importance of their education. The death of your son has profoundly affected me. My MIT colleagues and I will continue to apply the lessons of this tragedy and make MIT the better for it.

It is with great respect and personal gratitude that I thank you for the opportunity to meet in person. With your help, I now have a greater understanding of your terrible loss and of MIT's responsibilities to its students and their families.

I understand that you wish to make this letter public. You certainly have my permission to do so.

Sincerely yours,

Chuck Vest (signed)

Charles M. Vest


Topics: Administration, MIT presidency

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