Statement on Aaron Swartz

We are deeply saddened by Aaron Swartz’s death, and send our condolences to all who knew him.  We are very mindful of his commitment to the open access movement.  It inspires our own commitment to work for a situation where academic knowledge is freely available, so that others are not menaced by the kind of prosecution that he faced.  We encourage everyone to visit, a memorial site created by Aaron’s family and friends.

Scott Aaronson
Sasha Costanza-Chock
Kai von Fintel
Richard Holton
George Stephanopoulos
Anne Whiston Spirn

Members of the MIT Open Access Working Group

4 Responses to “Statement on Aaron Swartz”

  1. Henning Dekant Says:

    Some pertinent reporting on the miscarriage of justice in Aaron Swartz case.

  2. Richard Taylor Says:

    It’s now known that the Chancellor of MIT (Eric Grimson) could have stopped the initial investigations but refused to exercise this privilege. Will we ever find out the truth behind who really was responsible or can be blamed and for that matter should be blamed ? Most probably the answer is NO!

    How useful, or better, how misleading will Hal Abelson’s analysis be ? very.

    Hal’s analysis will avoid undermining parts that may lead to the rightful downfall of the chancellor. It will downplay any wrongdoing that may implicate other powerful figures within the regiment of MIT. Politics will prevail, unfortunately.

    That’s the bitter truth.

    And Swartz’s dad was right (see last paragraph of NYTIMES). They ruined his son when they could have opted for alternatives.

  3. Anonymous Observer Says:


    You are right. If you know what has been happening at MIT and know who was involved then it should not surprise that Hal Abelson’s response will be highly skewed. Protecting Eric Grimson’s wrongdoing and others too.

    It’s kinda of a joke to see such an educated mind state something soo inane

    “…but I expect to find that every person acted in accordance with MIT policy. More than that: they acted in the belief that their actions were legally and ethically proper.”

    If that were the case, Swartz would never have ended up in the position he was in.

    Why would Hal Abelson “expect to find” ? No, no, no. That’s certainly the wrong way to go about an objective investigation. There’s nothing to “expect” , you objectively review a matter without any “expectations”

    To that end, how inappropriate is the phrase “in accordance with MIT’s policy” ?????????????????????????? Even if it said “in accordance with the law” … I beg to differ …

    Does dumbly following any rule or regulation or policy or law make us moral citizens ? or make us citizens who act morally and ethically correct ?

    Come on Abelson, maybe that important task was slightly out of your area of expertise. Look at the segregation laws, look at the laws that existed in Nazi Germany ? Does following those laws justify any morally correct behavior ? I’m sure people in Nazi germany used to say exactly the same thing, “Oh, but what i did was ok cause … the law expects me to do this!”

    Even if people did act according to MIT’s policy, someone should be blamed and take the fall for this. That’s the only morally correct gesture that can be made.

  4. Mark Goretsky Says:

    Were he be a honest human being, Chancellor of MIT (Eric Grimson) should have resign long ago. His revolting, prosecutorial behavior in Aaron Swartz’ case is a dishonor to MIT reputation.