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Students ought to express views through open debate, not vandalism

I'm confused. When I picked up the March 2 copy of The Tech and saw a picture of 500 copies of The Thistle adorning the interior of a latrine ["Thistle distribution hit by another attack"], I didn't know how to respond. Had the architects of this foul deed published their views in a letter, even a poorly written one, I could have responded in a similar fashion. Or, if their powers of articulation are beneath The Tech's lofty standards, they could have at least scrawled graffiti on the bathroom stall. A toilet is hardly an ideal seat of discourse.

I agree that The Thistle's comments are often biased and sensationalist. As a past rush chairman, I bristled at their attacks on fraternities when freshmen were the most impressionable. Steven D. Penn's remark that a sorority member "was leading a troop of women to get the paper" sounded like a paranoid delusion. But let's not stoop to that level.

Censorship is not the answer -- and if chucking newspapers in a john isn't censorship, I don't know what is!

MIT is a place with many opinions and perspectives. Instead of shredding posters which advertise lectures by Israel Shahak or burning Pro-Life drop posters, we should be talking about these issues and learning from each other. When The Tech or The Thistle prints an article you don't like, reply to it with a letter. Instead of writing "Israel is Apartheid" on posters put up by MIT Students for Israel, write complete paragraphs explaining your view. As long as we resort to Neanderthal tactics, free speech and debate will give way to narrow-minded intolerance.

Groups ranging from the Coalition Against Apartheid to the Undergraduate Association do not hide behind anonymous vandalism to express themselves. They believe in their ideas and they're not afraid to speak out. Instead of hiding in bathroom stalls, they collect signatures, speak with MIT officials, and protest in Lobby 7. MIT benefits greatly from students who express themselves openly and responsibly.

Matt McCluskey '91->