Welcome to MIT, No Trespassing

by Patrick Henry Winston ’65, SM ’67, PhD ’70 on October 7, 2012 · 2 comments

in Campus Culture, Prof. Winston's Ideas


Professor Patrick Henry Winston ’65, SM ’67, PhD ’70

I really don’t understand it. MIT is a welcoming place, with daily waves of tourists photographing the architecture and prospective students, with parents in tow, admiring the classrooms, laboratories, sports facilities, and places to live.

But when the tourists, students, and parents emerge from the MIT-Kendall subway stop, Building 76 looms in front of them, with its conspicuous sign that threatens them with prosecution if they step inside.


Lately, just a few feet away, another, less impressively executed sign has been added:

What’s the explanation of the juxtaposition? Many years ago, the scales fell from my eyes when my friend and colleague Professor Silvio Micali answered a question about why a certain government agency was behaving in a certain foolish-sounding way:

“All big organizations are stupid,” he said.

Silvio’s observation explains a lot.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

David Goldfarb October 7, 2012 at 6:15 am

I visited MIT this summer for the first time in ages, and was also taken aback by the “no trespassing” sign. Very out-of-character for the campus. So, I ignored the sign and took advantage of the bathroom and water fountain in that building — seemed like the right thing to do!

I also discovered that East Campus now locks the entrances. I guess I understand the security need but quite a change from my day (early 80’s) when one of the highlights was having a circa-1962 alum wander up to visit.


khan October 8, 2012 at 6:09 am

hmmmm….. interesting


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