The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 65.0°F | Overcast

Ring committee ignores responsibility to class

(Editor's note: The Tech received a copy of this letter addressed to the members of the 1992 Ring Committee and the members of the selection committee.)

I am writing to let you know I think the 1992 ring is a childish and expensive hack in less than poor taste. I find it to be a clumsy aesthetic nightmare. You made extreme decisions without consulting the class.

I called a member of the committee before the premiere and asked him to confirm or deny the information I had about the design, specifically the mention of "PUNT" in the sticks and Christopher Columbus in the crest. The rumor was denied. I can understand the desire for an element of surprise; however, I and others were extremely concerned. I do not appreciate being lied to about my own class ring by those who supposedly represent my best interests. Something is very wrong with that.

The quality of the cut is quite poor even on the large men's rings I examined. The Athena owl is an indistinguishable bump. The "PUNT" is no more hidden in the sticks than the letters on this page. I could see them plainly when I stood looking down at them on the table. Rather than being hidden in the sticks, "PUNT" is obviously in relief. I am sorry the committee does not seem to have investigated this fundamental aspect of ring production. One only had to look at the rings on display at the premiere to have seen an example of Balfour's lacking craftsmanship.

I will not buy a ring that takes four years of hard, hard work to earn if it proclaims "PUNT" to me and to the rest of the world. When I graduate, it will be because I suffered greatly to conquer my MIT education, often with horrendous textbooks and worse lecturers as my only weapons. I will be proud of my success in the face of these odds. "PUNT" has no place on my ring, anywhere, even if you claim a tiny "tool" makes everything fair.

My cultural argument for stopping this ring design entirely, that is, not allowing them to be purchased by anyone, is the "celebration of the founding of America" 500 years ago, referring to Christopher Columbus. This has, as far as I can tell, nothing to do with the MIT Class of 1992, and was only used as an excuse to alter the official crest of MIT and simply make it look silly.

In the unlikely event that the committee actually has some well founded and uncontrollable admiration for Christopher Columbus, and if the committee holds that nothing here was worth calling America before European culture arrived, then they are welcome to those opinions. If they feel this "founding" merits celebration, that is also their opinion, and they are free to celebrate it in any way they choose, except on my ring.

This celebration includes the celebration of the beginning of the end for many cultures that were here first. I am sure that your Native American classmates, should there be any, are not at all pleased. Most likely, they will not buy a ring -- even though they wanted one as badly as I did -- because the concept is so repulsive. The executive decision to associate the Class of 1992 with the beliefs and/or foolish whims of the committee to me seems nothing less than pigheaded. I hope something can be done to change this.

My disappointment is deep and shared by others. Please read this letter in the spirit in which it was intended: to point out to those who were given the responsibility to make decisions in the best interest of the class, that they inexcusably abused that office. I ask you to accept this criticism as valid in the same spirit you would accept praise, and not to dismiss the points mentioned herein as emotional ravings. I and the other undersigned hope that there can be a solution, even if it is to insure that this never has to happen in the future.

Eva Berlandi '92->

with support from->

Debra Allison '92->

Linda Sauter '92->

J. Scott Willcox '92->