Do not consider punishment of BexleyTo the Editor:
Robert Sherwood's remarks ["MIT seeks sorority housing," Sept. 20] about a Bexley problem are disturbing. He is quoted as saying "I hope that [closing Bexley] would not be necessary.... If I really envisioned gutting Bexley and kicking the people out of there..." This implies that the Dean's Office is considering punishment because of an alleged anti-rush and suggests that the problem needs a solution "as we did in Senior House."
The Dean's Office has solved no problem at Senior House, because there was none. If they base action against Bexley on a similar faulty basis they are seriously in error. I lived in Senior House from 1980 to 1984, and was judcomm there during 1982 and 1983, and so I am aware of the following events.
At Senior House, an anti-rush problem was made out of an incident ocurring a week after Rush Week 1982 and several years of poor rushes. In 1982, two residents of Senior House tried to scare some freshmen on their floor with a loud party. A house meeting was held within days that saw the matter condemned by the house and apologies made; three of eight freshmen on the floor moved to a different entry, the rest stayed.
Dean Sherwood was present at the meeting. 1982 and 1983 had particularly bad rush weeks with less than ten freshmen asking to live there; "limboed" freshmen protested and wrote letters to the Institute rather than live there. Deans Sherwood and McBay cited these as evidence of an anti-rush at Senior House. Threats of moving all residents out were made and meetings were held with some students.
There was no anti-rush responsible for this. The same rush week activities which this year drew more freshmen than there was room for are events which have been held for years, and supposedly drove them away before. The change has been in the freshmen and in the unfortunate stories spread about Senior House. During Rush Week 1983 a record was kept (filling several pages) of the bad things said to freshmen about Senior House in other places. Many of the freshmen who wrote letters refusing to live in Senior House had never been there. Once they moved there they stayed -- few people transfer out. These poor rushes were not caused by anti-rush.
Bexley has this same problem. Most freshmen hear stories about Bexley's anti-rush during their first days at MIT or before they even get there. With reactions to Bexley like Eli Niewood's in the Tech Opinion page ["Bexley antirush policy unfair to MIT students," Sept. 6], this is not surprising. These stories have been spread for years, and whether or not they have been true in the past, freshmen certain of a "Bexley anti-rush" before they got there simply are not going to seriously consider living there. This situation is not an anti-rush sponsored by Bexley; this year there was a rush week at Bexley.
Deans Sherwood and McBay should realize that this situation exists. A poor turnout for Senior House or Bexley does not mean an anti-rush was held. Activities such as the border guard house in the Bexley courtyard or the Hare Krishna dinner are not anti-rush, even though they are not the same activities as at the other dorms.
They need open minds to avoid this misconception again, this time with harm to a dormitory possible; before considering punishment, Deans Sherwood and McBay should first make sure there is a problem. There was no anti-rush at Senior House during the years they tried to address one -- they should not try to address such a non-existent problem at Bexley without better evidence.
They certainly should not consider punishment on such a flimsy basis at all.
Michael Rohan G->