Cambridgeport Group Protests MIT Graduation Ceremony

Local residents protesting the "bad neighbor policies" of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) picketed Commencement exercises at the school this week.

The group, which also staged protests outside reunion activities on Saturday, objects to MIT's large land purchases over the past decade in the Cambridgeport section of the city.

Although the land is in a primarily industrial area, MIT "is talking of marketing it for research and development and high technology uses which would severely affect the neighborhood's economic diversity," Bill Cavellini, head of the Cambridgeport Steering Committee, said yesterday.

High-technology industry on the land near MIT would also increase gentrification pressures on the housing stock in the community, Lyn Weisberg, a member of the Alliance of Cambridge Tenants who joined in the protest, said.

"I really don't believe much of what they were saying," Walter A. Milne, head of MIT's community relations office, said yesterday. "The Cambridge Planning Department has done a study that shows research and development firms employ a lot more people per acre than straight manufacturing and that they provide employment for a whole variety of jobs," he added.