UAC adopts harassment proposal
By Katherine Shim
The Undergraduate Association Council adopted a proposal last night mandating the formation of a student task force to address harassment problems. The proposal emphasizes the concerns of individual students.
The council also passed a proposal denouncing the tuition increase for the 1990-91 academic year, and announced a spring break shuttle bus service to Logan International Airport for Friday, March 23.
The harassment proposal cites specific problems with current system, such as the large number of reported incidents of harassment, the inadequate distribution of information on the Institute Policy on Harassment and accompanying procedures of action, <>
and the inadequate counseling and information services available for students who have been harassed.
The proposal mandates the formation of a student task force which will investigate the degree of harassment on the MIT campus over the past five years and will report the results of its findings to the students and the Dean for Student Affairs by May 1, 1990.
The responsibilities of the task force will also include ensuring the effective distribution of information on the current harassment policy, developing a set of formal procedures that will address specific complaints and grievances, and proposing improvements to existing support and counseling services at the <>
The student task force will report periodically to the UAC on its progress. Choice of a task force chairperson will be subject to approval by the UAC Executive Board, and the task force will dissolve at the final council meeting of the 1990-91 school year.
"It must be stressed that this student task force should be representative of the entire campus, including minority groups and any other group that may in any way be subject to some type of harassment," said Baker House Representative Allison D. Hochstein '90, one of the authors of the proposal, at the council meeting. "We are not trying to redo the current Institute policy, but <>
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we are upset and concerned about the students. We have to provide answers to questions like where to go, what is available, what are the hot lines, and how should they be improved. We want to address the problem with the student viewpoint in mind," she added.
William B. Buckner '91, a representative of one of the student groups providing input to the task force, expressed a desire to see education addressed by the task force. "Many times," he stated, "acts of harassment are performed without any malicious intent. Some people just don't realize they are harassing someone. It is important to educate these people."
Baker House Representative Ephraim P. Lin '90 addressed this suggestion, stating that the <>
absence of specifics in the proposal was intentional. "We did not want to mandate specifics. We would rather leave the students the flexibility to make suggestions."
Other UA representatives expressed concern that the Institute was developing a hypersensitivity toward harassment. Council members voiced the need of the task force to walk the fine line between discouraging hypersensitivity and being sensitive to harassment.
The proposal was passed by a vote of seven in favor, five opposed, and one abstention.
Tuition increase denounced
The UAC denounced the 7.6 percent tuition increase for 1990-91 announced last Friday, citing the fact that the increase in tuition was greater than inflation. <>
The council also noted that the Institute has not specified the allocations of the increased tuition and that the Institute has not shown the benefits of past increases in tuition.
Other business at the meeting included the announcement of a shuttle service from MIT to Logan airport for spring break. The service will run on Friday, March 23 from 8 am to 8 pm. The three bus stops will be located at East Campus, McCormick, and New House.
Funding for the project will come from the UA Finance Board, and cost per ticket will be $5. The project will break even if 324 people use the service.
Results of student surveys on proposed changes to the academic calendar were also discussed. No overwhelming consensus was reached, however.