After criticism, MIT vows to aid students with legal resource

Stefanie Botelho's picture

Rafael Reif’s announcement came after members of MIT’s faculty wrote a letter last week, signed by more than 800 others, that pushed for the institution to provide support to four undergraduates under investigation for fraud by the state of New Jersey because of a project that won them an award at a programming competition — a controversy haunted by the memory of Internet activist Aaron Swartz.

On Saturday, before the letter was even submitted to Reif, he responded in a campuswide letter — vowing support for the four students, and promising that the university would establish an initiative to serve students involved in legal battles that result from their entrepreneurial pursuits.

“Beyond this specific case, I believe we should provide our student inventors and entrepreneurs with a resource for independent legal advice, singularly devoted to their interests and rights,” Reif wrote.

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