MIT Wants to Quell Student Hacker Felony Charges

MIT administrators are working with Middlesex County, MA district attorney's office to transfer the felony trials involving three students who were charged with trespassing in the MIT faculty club to an internal university disciplinary committee, "The Tech," a campus news service, reported.

Three MIT students, who contend they were hacking a wire closet when caught, are facing charges after setting off a burglar alarm in the faculty club last October. The case, which was filed in the Middlesex County Cambridge District Court by the MIT Police, has raised concern among some in the MIT community who feel that the students are being brought to court for a prank that in the past has generally been handled within MIT.

Undergrads Kristina Brown and Matthew Peterson and grad student David Nawi were found by MIT Police officers who were responding to a burglar alarm in the faculty club. The students were found near an open panel in the wall that leads to a crawl space, according to the MIT Police incident report. They were charged with breaking and entering, a felony.

Hareld Abelson, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, told The Tech that "there was a lapse in MIT procedures that resulted in this case getting so far along without the top administration knowing about it."

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Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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