The members of the linguistics program at MIT — faculty, students, and staff — hereby affirm that we value diversity of backgrounds and perspectives in our academic community, including students, faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and staff, and seek to create an atmosphere of inclusiveness and respect. These values are especially significant to the field of linguistics, which benefits substantially from the range of linguistic experience and knowledge engendered by diversity of backgrounds.

We affirm that we care about the mental and physical health of our students before the quality of their work and we believe that, consistent with our individual strengths and abilities, we should help each other sustain the physical and emotional well-being that is vital to our success in learning, inventing, solving problems, thinking boldly, discovering new truths, growing as individuals, mentoring others, and collaborating effectively as members of a team.

However, we nonetheless recognize that the department, the Institute, and the field of Linguistics continue to face challenges in the representation and inclusion of underrepresented minorities (URMs). We remain committed to MIT’s 2004 goal of doubling the percentage of URM faculty and tripling the percentage of URM graduate students within ten years. Since the goal has not been met, we pledge to create and to implement a departmental action plan to help MIT as a whole meet and exceed these goals within ten years. This proposed action plan and its progress will be reviewed periodically together with the Linguistics & Philosophy Visiting Committee.

Finally, to work towards greater inclusion of URMs in Linguistics, we have begun the MIT Indigenous Language Initiative (MITILI), a Master’s program that trains members of indigenous communities in linguistics with the goal of fighting against the loss of their languages. More broadly, MITILI aims to increase the diversity of perspectives and backgrounds in linguistics, by facilitating linguistic work done by indigenous community members who have traditionally been the objects of scientific study rather than the investigators of such study.


This statement is a living document. Please address any questions or concerns to the MIT Linguistics Community & Equity Committee (lcec@mit.edu) or the Community & Equity Officer, Kai von Fintel (fintel@mit.edu).