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Walter Lewin



Walter Lewin was a professor at MIT for 49 years. He became quite prestigious, not just on campus but online as well with his online video courses. In 2013 he began to create online versions of his classes for people to take as well. And in October 2014 it brought him sexual harassment charges. Immediately after said charges were brought, Lewin was fired and his videos were taken down from the internet. I don’t believe that his videos should have been taken down off the internet.

I do understand why MIT would believe it was right to remove the videos. Lewin’s reputation was intertwined with that of the institute, once people find out about the charges it reflects negatively on MIT as a college. MIT wanted, “a complete separation from Walter,†(The Tech). if it’s found out that instead of defending Lewin, that MIT fired him and cut off all ties they had with him, it would look good for the college, because they took action against something that is frowned upon in society. So MIT’s rash decision to remove all videos and fire Lewin is completely understandable, but maybe not so well thought through. MIT was just trying to watch their own skin and are trying to prevent, “any further inappropriate behavior,†(The Tech). By removing the videos MIT is guaranteeing that there are no ties with Lewin at all, and there is almost no way to find the videos now, and will be forever deleted at the end of this semester at MIT.

But removing the videos also may not have been a great idea for MIT to do. I understand getting rid of Lewin’s online classes. But Lewin’s videos, “have reached millions,†(The Tech). Lewin’s videos have helped not only the physics students at MIT, but people all around the world, learn physics by this brilliant man. He created demonstrations and lectures that, although I have not seen them, look as though they made it quite interesting to learn. By deleting the videos, MIT is taking away a valuable way to study and learn physics, for students who may not understand it sitting in a lecture hall. Although MIT is keeping them up till the end of this semester, what about the students who may need them later on in life? Or other students across the globe who have used Lewin’s videos to enhance their learning. Lewin’s videos have nothing to do with the sexual harassment charges, so if you delete the online classes that’s fine because that is where the charges began that’s fine and understandable, but taking away videos that were created to help students learn, is only hurting the students who may have relied on Lewin’s videos. Not only that, but Lewin is a brilliant man and MIT is deleting his work. Although what he allegedly did is wrong, it is also wrong to permanently destroy someone’s lifetime work.

In conclusion I believe that Walter Lewin, accused of sexual harassment, should not be allowed to continue to work at MIT and give online classes, but I do not believe that his lecture videos should have been deleted. His lecture videos offer a different way for students to learn the material especially if they don’t grasp it in class. I personally know from experience that online videos to help learn actually help me learn the material so much better. Although I understand the reasoning behind MIT firing Lewin and not wanting his name associated with theirs, I also understand that Lewin is a brilliant man and his work has influenced so many lives across the globe help to learn physics from “swinging from a ball†(The Tech). Lewin’s videos should not be deleted because they help kids learn and the alleged accusations did not take place within these videos and have nothing to do with students, except for helping them learn the material that’s being taught to them.

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