100 MIT faculty members have signed a letter standing in “solidarity” with fellow professor Gang Chen, who has been accused of hiding financial ties to China, saying that DOJ charges are “a complaint against all of us, and an affront to any citizen who values science and the scientific enterprise,” adding, “we are all Gang Chen.”
“As colleagues and friends of MIT Professor Gang Chen, we share our dismay and pain over his recent arrest,” said the faculty members in their letter. “We all know Gang as a truly beloved teacher, scholar, scientist, mentor, colleague, and world leading academic.”
“All his global work has been furthering MIT’s mission ‘to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century,'” they added.
A letter (draft) to the President @MIT from ~100 MIT faculty members.
It compares facts and Government's allegations against Professor Gang Chen.
Versions of it have been sent to many people, and it is in the public domain.
A powerful ending:
"We are all Gang Chen" pic.twitter.com/FYRdlSrekz
— Zhigang Suo (@zhigangsuo) January 22, 2021
Professor Chen was arrested and charged with grant fraud last week after allegedly failing to disclose his work for Communist China to the U.S. Department of Energy.
“We are standing in solidarity with our colleague,” continued the faculty members in their letter. “Moreover, we are writing to encourage that you and MIT continue to stand forthrightly, proudly, and energetically behind Gang Chen.”
The MIT faculty members went on to say that “the complaint against Gang Chen is a complaint against all of us, and an affront to any citizen who values science and the scientific enterprise.”
In their letter, they say that they believe “the complaint against Gang vilifies what would be considered normal academic and research activities, including promoting MIT’s global mission.”
“We recognize and respect that the United States government has an interest in keeping any country from stealing intellectual property,” said the faculty members. “But we are baffled by many elements of the official complaint against Gang Chen.”
They go on to say that they have “concerns on the allegations against Gang, and its implications for open academia and intellectual freedom,” adding that they believe the complaint is not about “protecting intellectual property.”
“At best, it represents a deep misunderstanding of how research is conducted or funded at a place like MIT,” they said.
The faculty members concluded their letter by asking that a specific narrative be pushed on campus with regards to professor Chen.
“We also urge that MIT assume leadership in transforming this difficult time to a learning moment, in which the allegations against Gang Chen are discussed in the context of defending academic freedom in this country,” they said.
“In many respects the defense of Gang Chen is the defense of the scientific enterprise that we all hold dear,” the faculty members added. “We are all Gang Chen.”