The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 37.0°F | A Few Clouds

Love Story screening not needed

To the Editor:

Last Friday's editorial in The Tech ["Porn policy must be enforced fairly," Feb. 8] states that Dean for Student Affairs Shirley M. McBay was in error by permitting the showing of Not a Love Story without insisting that it first be approved by the Ad Hoc Pornography Screening Committee.

The editorial said that Dean McBay "created a double standard" when she allowed the documentary's showing on Jan. 29.

Though I recognize that The Tech seems to support the showing of Not a Love Story, I feel that the editorial misrepresents Dean McBay's intentions and that it ignores her very real responsibilities to all students at MIT, including the women who protest the insults of pornography.

Furthermore, The Tech does not seem to be aware of the fact that we first gave notice of out intention to show Not a Love Story with the appearance of the IAP Guide in late Novemeber. Why did LSC wait two months -- until the day before our program -- to protest it?

The Policy Statement on Sexually Explicit Films at MIT states clearly that the screening committee's authority is limited to decisions about which can be shown in Kresge Auditorium. Censorship is not the issue; the committee can only require that pornographic films be shown in another location.

The policy does require at least six weeks' notice of intention to show "sexually explicit" films so that those who object will have an opportunity to prepare alternative programming.

The issue is the environment for women at MIT, and Dean McBay's steps to improve that environment were prompted by women students' complaints about harassment following the showing of pornographic films.

Our decision to show Not a Love Story was an effort to educate students about the issue of pornography and its connection to violence against women. We did not profit from the showing of "sexually explicit" material or provide such material as entertainment.

Indeed, the one-word descriptions of their responses that both men and women in the audience gave us following the film included "sick," "upset," "exploited," "angry," "ashamed," "depressed," "confused," "scared," "dehumanized," and "exhausted."

The LSC has continually and insistently misdirected the debate in what can only be interpreted as an attempt to reinforce their already-formidable monopoly on pornography shown for profit.

They clearly resent any suggestion that this might not be an appropriate public profile for MIT, nor do they recognize that there are at least five major universities in the Boston area that do not permit any pornography to be show on campus.

The Tech should be applauded for having the insight to see the educational value of Not a Love Story. But having done that much, it is disappointing that they should suggest anyone, Dean McBay included, could put Not a Love Story and The Opening of Misty Beethoven in the same category.

Ruth Perry->


Women's Studies Program->