Tensions Rise Between MIT, City Council

During at after MIT's presentation, councillors assailed the institute's representative with pointed questions. Several councilors asked why the institute delayed submitting an application for the waiver of the tunnel easement application process.

City Manager Robert W. Healy advised MIT last year that it "wasn't the right time to apply," when school first considered requesting the easement, Suduiko said yesterday.

Because the project would have minimum impact on the community, the school should qualify for a waiver of the usual hearings and impact analyses, he said.

Councillors brought up other touchy issues between the city and the school, including MIT's recent actions in regard to the relocation of an alcohol and substance abuse rehabilitation center located on the school's property.

The councillors expressed their concern with MIT's efforts to relocate the Cambridge and Somerville Program for Alcohol and Drug Addiction Rehabilitation (CASPAR) from its current site on university-owned land.


"The [rehabilitation] building is in shabby shape," City Councillor Francis H. Duehay '55 said in an interview yesterday.

Suduiko said yesterday that MIT had found a new site for the shelter in Central Square. The university plans to refurbish this building and deed it to the city in exchange for streets near MIT.

The institute will present the package to the city in August, he said.

But there is still confusion among councillors over MIT's intentions.

"My understanding is that they were going to donate the location to the city," Duehay said.

And Myers criticized MIT for reneging on a promise he said the school made during the re-zoning of city land near MIT.

"MIT offered a neighborhood to be utilized for housing," Myers said yesterday.

But MIT representatives had a different version of the story.

"To put it simply there is a difference of opinion," said Sarah E. Gallop, assistant for government and community relations at MIT. "That offer was never picked up by [the city]."

MIT officials maintain that they have done little wrong, that the have diligently sought to work with the city.

But his week councillors suggested that the school had shown little interest in city projects, prior to the petition for the tunnel wavier.

"It certainly has been extremely slow," Duehay said. "They've shown no interest until it came time to build the tunnel."

And councillors say these problems--the shelter and the promised housing--must be resolved before it will act on new MIT requests.

"I think that the easement is something of value," Duehay said. "It is very important that the city not give away public land. The city has a great many problems with MIT that it must deal with."