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The administration's shadow lies over MIT's spontaneity

Column/Andrew Bein

MIT went all out for the freshwomen of the Class of '89 this week. The Admissions Office spent plenty of money on ice cream orgies, a movie, special tours, lunches, dinners and more. But it was worth it. Now we are sure to attract more women to our school.

We can at least be reasonably certain of that. Last year, after the women were invited for a weekend, more agreed to four years here than ever before. There is no reason not to count on that happening again.

But the Admissions Office showed MIT in a somewhat unrealistic way. Some people may consider this an advantage. It is deceiving nonetheless.

On Tuesday the prefreshwomen were offered tours of the Space Systems Lab and the Arts and Media Center. In my two years at MIT I have never even heard of the Space Systems Lab, let alone received a tour of it.

I do know about the Arts and Media Center. That's the beautiful bathroom tile building across the street from East Campus. I snuck in there once to look around, but as I understand it, few undergraduates really have any business there at all.

Just before the women arrived on campus, an Ad Hoc committee released suggestions concerning MIT's alcohol policy. It recommended parties be shut down at 1 am, and that Rush run dry. The policy would place guidelines on parties and advertising.

It would, in other words, restrict students from doing whatever they want to do. There is a shadow.

The prefreshwomen's Campus Preview, with its planned events and schedule, was cut and dried, too. The preview resembles the Dean's Office. They both ignore the spontaneity that MIT allows.

There were no lessons on shorting out wall sockets, stealing street signs, arranging friends' rooms on the Charles River.

There were no seminars on burying balloons that explode onto football fields.

No one during the Preview discussed how to keep a party going until it is shut down by the Campus Police. Or restarting it afterwards.

College is the place where you can do things you've never done before and will certainly never be able to do again. MIT has provided that freedom.

As the prefreshwomen choose their colleges, the administration must choose whether or not it wants to allow its future students the spontaneity it has in the past. There is now a shadow on that spontaneity. We can only hope for a reverse of the trend.

Why not go all the way, just for fun? We could bring Wrestlemania to Lobby 7, on one of those musical mats. I can see Hulk Hogan and Mr. T now, fresh from their Madison Square Garden triumph, taking out Cyndi Lauper and Shirley McBay...