A Model of Dysfunction


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Diversity and the Parsons Lab

Subject: Diversity and the Parsons Lab 
From: Ed Carlevale
Date: January 12, 2018 at 8:35:31 AM EST
To: rmparsons-current


I reflexively think of the Parsons Lab as a diverse environment. But heading into Martin Luther King weekend I realize we aren’t as diverse as one might hope. As a gay man, I would feel extraordinarily alone if I were the only person noting gay pride day in June. And so it might be for others on MLK Day. It’s worth a thought.


Ed Carlevale
Building Manager, Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory
For Environmental Science and Engineering, MIT
Bldg-Rm 48-216F; (617) 253-6569

October 1, 2019 January 12, 2018 Parsons All (mailing list)
Fwd: My appointment

Subject: Fwd: My appointment
Sent: Monday, February 05, 2018 6:25 PM
From: Ed Carlevale
To: Philip M Gschwend


I emailed Angela to ask the status of my appointment and her reply is below. This is a support staff position. That means I do what I am asked to do, by you, by Penny, by Dara, and by Dennis. It has nothing whatsoever to do with being the building manager. Anyway, round and round, another miserable end to a productive day.


October 1, 2019 February 5, 2018 Phil Gschwend
Re: My appointment

From: Ed Carlevale
Date: Monday, February 5, 2018 at 6:24 PM
To: Angela R Mickunas
Cc: Borislava Stoyanova
Subject: Re: My appointment

Angela and Bori,

Please change my job title back to the same as Jim had, Sr. Assistant to the Director.  This is a support staff position. It’s absurd to have a Building Manager title.




Ed Carlevale
Sr. Assistant to the Director, Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory
For Environmental Science and Engineering, MIT
Bldg-Rm 48-216F; (617) 253-6569


October 1, 2019 February 5, 2018 Angela Mickunis
My appointment

Subject: My appointment
Date: February 5, 2018 at 5:34:43 PM EST
From: Ed Carlevale
To: Angela R Mickunas

Hi Angela,

I was wondering if there was any word on my appointment? This week is the start of my second year at Parsons. When you emailed about the Building Manager role some months ago, I assumed that that would come with a change in appointment and a raise, and I still assume that. Can you let me know where things stand on that front?



October 1, 2019 February 5, 2018 Angela Mickunis
Re: My appointment

From: Angela R Mickunas 
Subject: Re: My appointment
Date: February 5, 2018 at 6:00:40 PM EST
To: Ed Carlevale
Cc: Borislava Stoyanova

Hi Ed.

I apologize but I donąt recall discussing a promotion or raise with you. I understand that one part of your current position is to serve as an admin for the Parsonąs building/facility. We donąt have a specific position, building manager in the department; such a position does not exist. You replaced Jim Long and I believe your scope of work falls in line with what he did.

I have reviewed your self review as well as Philąs review and Bori and I will discuss in the coming days/weeks. I think Bori is setting up meetings in March to invite individuals as an option to meet in person to discuss performance evaluations.

Let me know if you have any other questions or if I havenąt made things more clear for you.


Angela R. Mickunas
Administrative Officer

October 1, 2019 February 5, 2018 Ed Carlevale
RE: My appointment

From: Philip M Gschwend 
Subject: RE: My appointment
Date: February 6, 2018 at 9:32:51 AM EST
To: Ed Carlevale

you should talk to me!

October 1, 2019 February 6, 2018 Ed Carlevale
Re: Phone found

From: Bo Richardson 
Subject: Re: Phone found
Date: February 13, 2018 at 4:34:43 PM EST
To: Ed Carlevale

Hi Ed!

I hope this email finds you very well!

I have landed on my feet in a great position within MIT where I am very happy. Yay, me!

I just wanted to thank you again for all of your help and consideration during my brief time with CEE. In a sea of chaos you were one of the people I could rely on. It meant a lot to me.

Also, I do see that I am still receiving emails on the “rmparsons-current” email list, which I am pretty sure I don’t need . Would you mind removing me from the email lists? Or mentioning this to whomever is in control of that? I would do it myself, but I am not sure if I have the authorization to do so.

Anyway, I hope you are well, and thank you again. I wish you my very best!

Bo Richardson

October 1, 2019 February 13, 2018
Review meeting, Parsons walk-through

From: Edmund Carlevale
Subject: Review meeting, Parsons walk-through
Date: April 2, 2018 at 6:30:36 AM EDT
To: Angela R Mickunas, Borislava Stoyanova

Hi Angela and Bori,

I wanted to ask if I could give you a tour Parsons before our review meeting on Wednesday. A tour the building would be more effective than anything I can say to show what I’ve accomplished since taking on the responsibilities of Building Manager some months ago. If that isn’t possible, then I’ll try to put the work on paper and bring it with me when we meet.



Ed Carlevale
Building Manager, Parsons Laboratory
for Environmental Science and Engineering
Office: (617) 253-6569; Cell: (617) 866-0815

October 1, 2019 April 2, 2018 Angela Mickunis
Dangerous emails

From: Jane Cote 
Subject: MIT 
Date: April 4, 2018 at 10:24:46 AM EDT
To: Edmund Carlevale

Dear Edmund,

Martin told me about your email. I am really concerned about what you are doing to yourself by sending dangerous emails (please read the whole thing before you get upset with me for saying that).

I totally understand that you would feel unappreciated and you need to defend your self respect against the slight of not getting a well deserved raise.

I don't know if anyone told you, but they love you at Parsons and had nominated you for some kind of award at MIT. There are a lot of people who would be willing to stick out their necks out for you to get you a raise. My real worry though is that by sending emails you may have burned any bridges and sabotaged yourself. He said that he wasn't able to find you today and that Phil said there was a subsequent email from you to HR that was construed as borderline harassment. I feel like these emails are not a strategic way to get what you want. It feels to me like you need a safer space to vent the anger and hurt behind not getting the raise. I am home until 3 if you want to come over for coffee and vent. I'm worried that using email to deal with this is self sabotage and not in your best interest. I remember how hard it was for you to be without a job, and while I know MIT the organization is cold and mistreating you, I still think there is value in maintaining what you have built at Parson’s, you are really appreciated there, Martin talks about it often.

I am here today if you need a friend. Love,


April 4, 2018 April 4, 2018 Ed Carlevale
Vote of confidence for Edmund Carlevale

From: Gabriel E Leventhal
Date: Tue, Apr 10, 2018 at 5:03 PM
Subject: Vote of confidence for Edmund Carlevale
To: Markus J. Buehler
Cc: Angela R Mickunas

Dear Professor Buehler,

It has come to the attention of the below-signed postdocs, graduate students, and other members of the Parsons community that Edmund Carlevale will be leaving his post as Assistant Director of Parsons. Although we do not know the specifics that led up to this event, we wish to express our surprise and disappointment given our shared view that Edmund’s work has had a positive effect on and benefitted the Parsons community.

Edmund has brought vision and vigor to his work in Parsons that is evident in the improvements throughout the building. These improvements are heartily welcomed by many in the community as an effort to improve both the quality of the workspace and the face that this building presents to guests and visitors who come here to engage with this intellectually open, innovative, and forward-looking community. There is a shared sense among us that the energy and dedication that Edmund has brought to his mission here is unique, and that if allowed to stay on and continue his work, he will continue to bring change to Parsons that will benefit the whole community for many years to come.

Moreover, Edmund has impacted the Parson’s community far beyond what would normally be expected of him. Edmund serves as a valued source of support for much of our community—especially students. He smiles and greets us when he sees us around the lab and asks us how our work is going, always offering to help however he can. Edmund has gone above and beyond the call of duty to assist people during late hours and weekends and has spread his enthusiasm and cheerfulness to create a better working environment for the community.

We sincerely hope that there is a place in this process for the Administration of CEE to take under consideration this strong vote of confidence for Edmund by the Parsons community. We would also like to highlight that many of us have also previously noted our appreciation for Edmund’s contributions in nominating Edmund to receive the CEE Excellence Award. We ask that these also be considered as a reflection of his impact on the community.

Yours respectfully,

Aaron Chow, Postdoc, Adams Lab
Ali Ebrahimi, Postdoc, Cordero Lab
Andrew Feldman, PhD Student, Entekhabi Lab
Angela Cacciola, MS student, Gschwend Lab
Anjuli Jain Figueroa, PhD Student, McLaughlin Lab
Bruno K Rodiño Janeiro, Postdoc, Polz Lab
Caihong Tang, Visiting student, Nepf Lab
Clovis Daniel Borges, Postdoc, Polz lab
David VanInsberghe, PhD, Polz Lab
Dayang Wang, PhD Student, Adams Lab
Desiree Schmitz, Visiting Student, Cordero Lab
Dr. Stefan Thiele, Affiliate, Polz Lab
Fabiola Miranda-Sanchez, Postdoc, Polz Lab
Fatima Aysha Hussain, PhD candidate , Polz Lab
Flora Su, Alumnus, Heald Lab
Gabriel Leventhal, Postdoc, Cordero Lab
Hayley Gadol, PhD Student, Kocar Lab
Idaly Ali, MEng Student, Harvey Lab
Irene Hu, PhD Student, Hemond Lab
Ishita Shrivastava, PhD Student, Adams Lab
Jakob Russel, Visiting PhD student, Cordero Lab
James Rowe, PhD Student, Kroll Lab
Javier Dubert, Postdoc, Polz Lab
Jiarui Lei, PhD Candidate, Nepf Lab
Jose Saavedra, Lab Manager, Cordero Lab
Joseph Elsherbini, Graduate Student, Polz Lab
Josh Moss, PhD Student, Kroll Lab
Joy Yang, PhD candidate, Polz Lab
Judy Yang, PhD student, Nepf lab
Julia Schwartzman, Postdoc, Cordero Lab
Julien Barrere, Visiting Student, Cordero Lab
Kathryn Kauffman, Postdoc, Polz Lab
Leonora Bittleston, Postdoc, Cordero Lab
Luis Valentin, Lab tech, Cordero Lab
Neha Mehta, PhD Student, Kocar and Harvey Lab
Paul Berube, Research Scientist, Chisholm Lab
Rachel Soble, PhD student, Cordero Lab
Raphael Laurenceau, Postdoc, Chisholm Lab
Ruud Janssen, Postdoc, Heald Lab
Shaul Pollak, Postdoc, Cordero Lab
Sidhant Pai, Phd Student, Heald Lab
Simone Cenci, PhD student, Saavedra Lab
Steven Biller, Research Scientist, Chisholm Lab
Thomas Hackl, Postdoc, Chisholm Lab
Tim Enke, PhD student, Cordero Lab
Timothy Adams, MEng student, Eltahir Lab
Tiziana Smith, PhD Student, McLaughlin Lab
Xiaoqian Yu, PhD candidate, Alm/Polz Lab

April 10, 2018 April 10, 2018 Markus Buehler
Request for a meeting

From: Edmund Carlevale
Subject: Request for a meeting
Date: August 14, 2018 at 9:32:25 PM EDT
To: "Martin A. Schmidt", Cynthia Barnhart
Cc: Nicholas Diehl

Dear Provost Schmidt and Chancellor Barnhart,

An MIT HR Officer phoned me today and told me not to “go near any CEE building” because someone inside feels “threatened by me.”

This is a very serious charge, and I apologize in advance for the barrage of attached emails and documents I’m submitting in my defense. I’ve spent the day trying to frame a proper reply, not to the accusation or to HR, but to… I’m not entirely sure. I’ve been at MIT for 27 years, and feel that I’ve made a distinguished contribution. But the things I’ve bumped my head on are the same things that MIT has bumped its head on, and the world as well… but that bumps and bruises don’t constitute a reason for a meeting, so perhaps all I can do at present is submit this protest at the way I’ve been treated.

Kind regards and thanks,

Ed Carlevale

PS: I’ll marshal that barrage of documents in my defense at another time. For now I’m attaching two documents that indicate what I’m defending.

October 15, 2019 August 14, 2018 Cindy Barnhart, Chancellor, Marty Schmidt, Provost
Our meeting today (Lianne Shields, August 23, 2018)

From: ed carlevale

Subject: Our meeting today
Date: August 23, 2018 at 10:14:29 AM EDT

To: Lianne P Shields
Cc: Lorraine A Goffe, Peter H Brenton

Dear Lianne,

I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you this morning. The phone call from Michelle Coyne last week, however, has truly unnerved me. Not only do I face a new accusation of threatening behavior, I’ve been warned to “stay away from CEE buildings.” And the other things that Michelle said are so inappropriate, unprofessional, and hurtful, that it’s difficult to frame any useful reply.

When Bori had my MIT email shut off for a second time a few weeks ago, I reached out to NSE Administrative Officer Pete Brenton to sponsor my guest account, because I’m working with Neil Todreas on a book project, and because I worked in NSE for for 10 of my 27 years at MIT.
Bori and Pete are friends, or more likely, he felt Bori had reasonable grounds for turning off my email. In any case, on Monday called to say the email wouldn’t be restored at present. And Pete called me to explain this. That seems so simple. I’m sure it would be your first thought. But from first day to last, and now four months afterward, there hasn’t been a single conversation with CEE Headquarters about these extraordinary events that have trashed my reputation and taken away my MIT career.

Anyone with a long association with CEE, as I have, will immediately note the way that the desks in CEE Headquarters have been re-arranged. And all the partitions and screen that used to provide privacy have been removed. The CEE communication team doesn't interact with each other, they face forward like children in a kindergarten, facing their teacher.

Angela has said that Markus has spoken to her on multiple occasions in regards to the way that she speaks to the staff. What are Markus’ concerns? A Headquarter's staff person told me that Angela makes her “cry at least once a week.” And amazingly, she didn’t seem to have a problem with this. She was just trying to say that she knows Angela can be a handful.

I have no idea what lies behind the extraordinary animus I have faced from CEE Headquarters. It seems reasonable to ask if bias is involved. CEE Headquarters consists of Markus and 8 women (or did until recently, when a male staff member was hired). The demographics of CEE Headquarters, the professional and appropriate nature of my actions, and the 27 years of extraordinary evidence to the contrary, suggest that bias might be involved. But apparently I’m alone in that thought.

Provost Schmidt, Chancellor Barnhart, and Vice President are working together on MIT’s policy regarding harassment and appropriate behavior toward women. Please ask me sometime about the things I have done over the course of my 27 years at MIT on behalf of women. That avails nothing in the face of accusations from people with whom I’ve never wormed. But truly, I am part of the ecosystem that sustains the Provost’s, the Chancellor’s, and the Vice President’s work.

I don’t think I would be able to say this coherently in our meeting today, which is why I’m emailing to cancel our meeting. And the extraordinary thing about being accused of threatening behavior, is how readily all behavior can be seen through that lens. So if I should be flustered or frustrated in any way during our conversation, that becomes part of the argument against me, apparently with no end in sight.

The good news is that virtually every aspect of this story, from my first day with CEE to the present, is expressed in emails. So I’m putting this together and will leave it with VP Goffe, and will let go any effort to rebuild my reputation or career at MIT.

Sincerely yours,
Ed Carlevale

October 15, 2019 August 23, 2018 Lianne Shields
"...printing off/preparing documents in advance of our meeting

From: ed carlevale 
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2018 3:34 PM
To: Lianne P Shields 


I was just printing off/preparing documents in advance of our meeting, and I came across the official letter from Bori about my last day at Parsons. I remember thinking it was graceless at the time. It’s still graceless, but good golly, who writes something like this? To someone who’s simply given their two week notice? This is the management style that processes a request for a logo into a ‘complaint' and a disciplinary meeting. Every interaction with CEE had this inexplicable quality, from day 1 onward. It had absolutely nothing to do with me, it was simply their default leadership style.

Anyway, I look forward to our meeting.



October 1, 2019 August 30, 2018 Lianne Shields
Following up

From: Lianne P Shields 
Subject: Following up
Date: August 1, 2019 at 6:57:57 PM EDT
To: "edcarlevale@gmail.com"

Dear Ed,

I do want to thank you for sending the photographs of Susan Hockfield. I certainly see what you mean about her clear focus on other people.

Since our meeting, I did look into a range of issues you raised and I wanted to let you know what I found.
First, I can confirm that Central HR is not blocking your movement to other positions at MIT or elsewhere. There are no red flags in the central HR system and no one has contacted HR for a reference. Actually, I suggest that if you have a potential employer from outside MIT who would like to know who to call for a reference, you should have them call central HR where our standard practice is to only confirm dates of employment. If someone within a department you reported to in the past personally offers to serve as a reference for you, that is between you and that person. For an MIT reference, they should call Central HR as our information is specific and controlled.

That said, if you do apply for a position within MIT, hiring managers are encouraged to check references with HR. If they ask if there is any discipline is in the candidate’s record, they will be told if there was or not (to the extent that is known), but not the details. They may also be told if the discipline was recent or older. I can tell you that I checked to see if any references have been requested at Central HR regarding your employment at MIT, and none have been received.

I also want to let you know that despite the affinity you feel for Cindy Barnhart and the work she is doing to prevent harassment and discrimination, she is not in a position to intervene in the personnel decisions or matters of other departments. You may, however, address the issues you have with the CEE HR functions with either the CEE Department Head, Markus Buehler or with the Assistant Dean for the School of Engineering, Catherine Kim. Similarly, your dissatisfaction with decisions made by CEE not something Central HR can address as these decisions are, appropriately, the School’s to make. This includes the decision the Department made to accept your last resignation. That decision, by the way, was not made by Bori Stoyanova alone, but was made by the broader leadership of CEE.

Also, I did check into whether former employees are entitled to an MIT email address and learned that former employees are not entitled to an MIT email address. While I do understand why you would have found an MIT email address to be helpful while you were doing work for Peter as a MITemp, there is not an argument that I can now make that it would be useful.

Ed, I do know you are interested in future employment either at MIT or beyond, if there are particular positions you are interested in at MIT I remain happy to tell you what I know about the work of that department or the position.


October 1, 2019 August 1, 2019 Ed Carlevale
My Week


October 1, 2019 October 12, 2019 Penny Chisholm
Re: Appointment request

From: Nicholas Diehl 
Subject: Re: Appointment request
Date: August 8, 2018 at 3:31:39 PM EDT
To: Ed Carlevale <ecarl@mit.edu>


Thanks for your message.

I am happy to meet with you, but I should clarify that the Ombuds Office does not receive formal grievances, as you mentioned in your message below. The Ombuds Office is a resource for informal issue resolution.

I understand from the General Counsel’s Office that you are entitled to view your personnel file. If you would like to do so or file a formal complaint about the hiring process, Human Resources would be the appropriate department to contact.

Please let me know how you would like to proceed.


October 1, 2019 October 12, 2019 Ed Carlevale
Reference request

From: ed carlevale
Subject: Reference request
Date: September 18, 2018 at 3:05:23 PM EDT
To: Philip M Gschwend, Sallie Chisholm, Martin F Polz, Dara Entekhabi

Dear Phil, Penny, Martin and Dara,

I hope all is well on this Jane Eyre afternoon of rain and thunder. Here on the home front I’m still trying to get on the other side of CEE’s continued animus toward me. Think Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables, but without the loaf of bread. That should give you some idea of what this has been like.

In any case, apparently I am now a cyberstalker. Not the Wikipedia sort of cyberstalker. Not even the MIT sort. No. Just the CEE sort. The argument against me, the actual stalking, is contained in the email that I sent on August 2 to the Parsons mailing list, "A Building Manager’s Story.” I’m not sure who I’m supposed to have been stalked, but no matter. Bori contacted  MIT’s Information Services and also the Administrative Officer in Nuclear Science and Engineering, a friend and colleague of hers, and convinced them to cancel my guest MIT account. I wish the ACLU had a field office at MIT. It would be too depressing to list the consequences this has had for my reputation, my spirits, and my prospects of employment at MIT.

My efforts to date to redress this have all failed, partly because the story is so preposterous that it’s impossible to provide the context for this kind of accusation. But the main reason is that Bori is using the language used to describe harassment against women — harassment, threatening behavior, cyberstalking — to describe me. I’ve even been told to stay away from Bldg 1 because people there feel threatened by me. And it’s enough for Bori to make that accusation. I’m never told of it, I”m never asked to respond. So I am never given a chance to say:

  • I asked for an electronic version of the CEE logo and that led to the first ‘complaint’ against me and my first disciplinary meeting with Angela.
  • I write the sentence “I won’t be bullied” in an email and evert afterward that is used to justify the characterization that I am a threatening person.
  • And I created a pdf to describe my work at Parsons because I was proud, because I wanted a record of that work, and because I though it possible the person making hiring decisions might not know what I had accomplished.

And the result is that I’m accused of being a cyberstalker.

None of this has anything to do with me. It is part of an unresolved relationship between the Parsons Lab and Bldg 1. None of my work was ever going to be recognized, Phil’s best efforts notwithstanding. So I am simply trying to extricate myself, but CEE’s continued animus makes me feel like Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables.  But how can I say that without invoking the specter of ‘threatening behavior’? It doesn’t matter that I have 27 years of advocacy, action, that I think I’ve done more in support of women at MIT than nearly any other person I know. Kathy Briana said that Angela made her cry “at least once a week,” and she wasn’t saying that as a complaint. She was simply say that that’s Angela being Angela. Women are very often not advocates for themselves. And Bori is certainly not an advocate for anyone. Angela herself said that Markus had spoken to her on multiple occasions about the way Angela speaks to CEE Headquarters staff. Was Markus concerned about the staff crying? Was he concerned that Angela removed the screens and partitions that used to give the Headquarters staff some privacy? Was he concerned that Angela rotated the desks so that the staff are lined up like children in a kindergarten classroom? That is about control. It may not be bullying, but it’s as adjacent as b is to c.

What astonishes me is how simply this could be addressed if someone tried to redress it. That, finally, is my only real criticism of MIT, that the default tendency is to expediency. I came by Parsons last week to pick up more of my stuff, and John MacFarlane told me about the graduate lounge going into Serguei’s office. It copies an idea that I initiated, but it misinterprets that idea entirely. Putting the postdoc lounge where it is solved a bunch of different problems that needed to be solved. And it didn’t happen because the room was empty. I had to negotiate every inch of it. But Serguei’s office is completely wrong for the grad lounge. It would be much better to go into the room where Harry’s electronics are. But that would require a strategy, it would require conversations. Harry wants a showcase for his submarines, and he would be open to an alternative location if in the end it works out to his benefit. And the corner room would be right for the graduate students. But Serguei’s office is empty, so that’s the end of the story.

Same for the two job descriptions that were posted to replace me. Angela told me a few days before my review that I wasn’t being considered for a promotion or a raise, and furthermore, that the subject of my review would be my ‘threatening’ behavior. So I submitted my notice. Then CEE posted my job as two separate jobs, which acknowledges the volume of work that I was doing but which they refused to recognize.

But my point is that CEE just blows the dust off existing job descriptions, without reimagining what they jobs actually require. The job description for the staff person for yourself is not remotely near to what you or Parsons need. Ask Bo Richardson, a woman that Bori hired a year or so ago and who lasted a week because of how misguided those CEE support staff job descriptions are. And don’t even get me started on the Assistant to the Director position, with its requirement for a high school education.

But this finally is the thing I want to say, this is what led me to withdraw my notice a few days after I submitted it. The world is in free fall. We’re not where we were even a year ago. Every leader at MIT and in Washington certainly understands that, and is trying to find the way forward. The challenge that we face is equivalent to the challenge that we’ll face with climate change. It requires each of us to make a sacrifice in our expectations, just as World War II required a relaxing of living standards. So all this arguing, all this separation, all this mind boggling waste of money and effort that characterizes CEE’s relationship with the Parsons Lab, seems so objectionable to me. But perhaps one has to be unemployed to feel that as keenly as I do, not because I feel more vulnerable but because I have the time to read. Good golly, none of the news is good!

OK, apologies. I’ve been trying to get this story out for so long that I hope it brings some relief to have done so. Because it’s been truly awful to have my MIT career end in such a squalid way. No other word feels right. Not so much the part through April, but everything that’s happened in the epilogue afterward. I feel too ashamed even to go on Linked In and try to put a good face on it. For me, that was the gift that our relationship brought, the ability to disagree without losing hold of the friendship. That’s the only way change is possible. And change is urgently needed. Not radical change, just a series of course corrections. But if CEE just blows the dust off the status quo, then change will never come.

Ok, rant over! All this to the side, I send warm regards.


October 1, 2019 October 12, 2019 Martin Polz
The game plan

From: Ed Carlevale
Subject: The game plan
Date: January 10, 2018 at 9:51:22 PM EST
To: Harry Hemond


Several weeks ago you asked me what the overall plan for Parsons was. I think many of those pieces are still evolving. But the piece I need to move forward now, and the piece that means the most to me, has to do with the machine shop. I can’t make a move in any area until the Machine Shop is well-organized and functional, and I just don’t have the heart to negotiate every inch of the way. In every other area of Parsons, I’ll defer to the course that individual faculty lay out. But in the machine shop, it’s simply too overwhelming a task for that approach.

This past year has been very promising, and it’s also been hellish. There hasn’t been a week I haven’t worked 60+ hours. There hasn’t been a month when I haven’t quit. And there have been masses of wasted time because this job has no notes and no support. But it’s been a surprise to me how much I like the job, the people, and how much productivity the work draws out of me.

So I don’t have any detailed plans to present to you regarding Parsons. But I’m asking for your support for what I’m trying to do in the machine shop.



October 1, 2019 October 12, 2019 Harry Hemond
4th floor looks great!

From: "Sallie (Penny) Chisholm"
Subject: 4th floor looks great!
Date: February 21, 2018 at 12:32:39 PM EST
To: Ed Carlevale

Sallie (Penny) Chisholm
Institute Professor
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
48-419 MIT
Cambridge, MA 02139

October 1, 2019 October 12, 2019 Penny Chisholm
"Ben’s surgeries and now Jesse’s knee surgery are stress-related..."

From: Ed Carlevale
Date: August 19, 2017 at 8:00:39 AM EDT
To: Phil Gschwend
Cc: Penny, Dara Entekhabi

Phil, Penny and Dara,

I think I can say more constructively what I tried to say yesterday.

Ben’s surgeries and now Jesse’s knee surgery are stress-related. That has been the eye-opener for me in this job — how many burdens are placed on faculty and how little support is provided. When Dara’s was Parson’s Director, Sheila and Jim were on hand, and the three together made the building run. It doesn’t run by itself. And Phil and I can’t deliver what previously three people delivered.

The second eye-opener for me is how much I like this job. I generally always like the job I have, but this is deeper. It’s the combination of helping people, the shop and the building-wide things associated with maintaining the building, and working with people I’ve known for a very long time and have liked from the first day onward. I could give you a list of the things I’ve done over the past two weeks alone, and the relationships I’ve strengthened, that I think would shock and impress you. But that misses the point that the essential job here is making the building run, not as Director but as glue, of being responsible for pieces that might otherwise fall through the cracks, of building relationships that make other relationships go more smoothly.

One final thing to say, and this is that difficult thing of speaking truth to power. The third eye-opener is how separated faculty are among themselves. In some cases it’s disagreements, in most cases it’s just overwork. But that separation makes consensus harder, but it also makes it harder for any one person to see all the different pieces. I know that Jim and Sheila miss their jobs. But they were also seriously frustrated. Those challenges haven’t gotten any easier. That’s why our own friendship feels important to me, as the basis for the discussion and change that need to happen.


October 14, 2019 Phil Gschwend