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Political activism provides a richer education

Guest Column/Daniel W. Pugh

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Political activism has historically been a trademark of students, both in the United States and the world. Students have led the way to important social change in countries all over the globe. Here in the United States, campuses have provided forums for discussion of issues and ideas in the context of an academic setting.

Activism reached a peak in the Sixties. But it seems that this decade has brought a new trend: a lack of concern for important issues.

At MIT, issues occasionally arise which are given much discussion. But it seems that most of the members of the MIT community simply do not care. They are either too concerned about the next problem set, or are too wrapped up in life in this small corner of the globe to be concerned. This is appalling.

Whether your political leanings are liberal or conservative, it is important for you to give them careful consideration on every issue, and then not to hesitate to voice them. Something is wrong when the best minds in the nation are wasted thinking about nothing other than the narrow fields of study in which they are majoring. One of the things that makes Harvard such a great university is that the students take the time to think about other things beyond school.

In light of Tuesday's elections, and considering the elections coming up in 1986, opportunities present themselves for the MIT community to really get involved in the political process. Issues such as apartheid and the SDI program will persist in importance. Candidates will be looking for the support of the substantial MIT community. One such candidate is Senator George Bachrach.

George is a Massachusetts Senator who will be running for the US House of Representatives seat of Tip O'Neill in the 1986 election, when Tip retires. Bachrach presently represents residents in Watertown, Somerville, and Cambridge, including many MIT students. O'Neill's seat in the Federal House of Representatives will affect all MIT students.

Senator Bachrach is considered to be the front-runner in the race, but he needs the support of the Cambridge student population. His positions on the important issues are extraordinarily well constructed. I work in Bachrach's office as an intern. While his views and mine are not always the same, being involved in the electoral process is far more important to me.

Bachrach is opposed to research on the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), for the same reasons that much of the MIT community is opposed to the misuse of technology. He has also been arrested for civil disobedience in protest of apartheid.

His record in the Massachusetts Senate has been outstanding. Among other things, he has attempted to make the procedures more open to public review. This is in direct opposition to the present senate president who has tried to exclude the public from most of the body's proceedings.

The time to become involved is now. Bachrach's campaign is in need of students who can work in any way. If you care enough about the future of your country to spend some time on this national campaign, contact the Bachrach campaign through his State House office.

Of course, Bachrach's is not the only campaign in which students can become involved. But it is the best one. The important thing is for the members of the MIT community to throw off the political apathy that has fallen over them and to take a stand on issues they consider important.

Senator Bachrach's campaign presents an ideal opportunity to do exactly that. MIT could be as great a forum for ideas as Harvard is -- but only with the interest of the great minds which are part of this community.

A college education is so much more than simply learning to differentiate. The current review of the Humanities and Social Sciences requirement shows that people are concerned about this. Give yourself the chance to find out more about the world around you. You will receive a much richer education for your efforts.