The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 22.0°F | Overcast

Campaign poster insulted blacks, trivialized Holocaust (1)

Recently, campaign posters of a few of the candidates for Undergraduate Association offices have been brought to our attention as being offensive and inappropriate. These posters represent the views of these individual candidates for election.

While it is necessary and important that candidates take responsibility for their words as well as their actions, it is not appropriate that the UA Election Commission, or any body, censor candidates' written material. The role of the Election Commission is not to pass judgment on candidates' views, but to allow all candidates the opportunity to present their views to the undergraduate community. Undergraduates, through their individual and collective votes, hold the power to reject or accept candidates.

Just as those who have been offended have the right to make their voices heard, the candidates also have every right to say what is on their minds. Censorship of these posters would keep voters from fully knowing their choices -- the candidates. It is better to know of a candidate's opinion before the election rather than after that individual has been elected.

Another suggested option for dealing with offensive, written material is the removal of the candidates' names from the ballot. This would not resolve the issue, but instead fail to address it properly.

Requesting that an individual be removed from the ballot substitutes the will of the majority with the request of a vocal minority. Democracy protects free -- even offensive -- speech. The ultimate authority to accept or reject the positions of candidates resides with the voters. It is thus the responsibility of the community to respond to these issues.

The UA Election Commission will maintain every candidate's right to be heard, and it also encourages all undergraduates to address their concerns through their votes.

Christine Coffey '93->

UA Election Commission->