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GAMIT confuses academic debate with hostility

Next week has been designated Campus Pork-Eating Awareness Week, by a new campus organization, the Pork Eaters At MIT (PEAMIT). Although the official purpose of the week is to increase awareness of pork eating on campus, PEAMIT's main focus appears to be to convince people on campus that eating pork is OK, and all students should accept that it's fine for others to eat pork, even if they don't eat it themselves.

The pork eaters have, of course, been in the news often this year. Many religions disagree with eating pork, and last fall their group was in the news when an organization identifying itself only as PHAMIT (Pork Haters At MIT) hung a drop poster in Lobby 7 containing anti-pork insults and porkophobic slurs. PEAMIT was appropriately quick to condemn this action.

Nationally, pork eaters have been in controversy. Shortly before Hanukkah pro-pork demonstrators entered a temple Beth Israel in New York. One demonstrator desecrated a Torah, a book of Jewish scripture and other sacred literature. This action increased tensions between the two factions. Campus Pork-Eating Awareness Week begins Monday, including many pro-pork events, demonstrations and posterings on the entire campus.

The above is a joke. What follows is not.

Last week was designated Bisexual Gay and Lesbian Awareness Days by the campus organization Gays At MIT (GAMIT). Although the official purpose of the week is to increase awareness of homosexuality and bisexuality on campus, GAMIT's main focus appears to be to convince people on campus that being gay, lesbian, or bisexual is OK, and all students should accept that it's fine for others to be gay, lesbian or bisexual, even if they are straight themselves.

GAMIT has, of course, been in the news often this year. Many religions disagree with homosexuality, and last fall the group was in the news when an organization identifying itself only as HAMIT (Heterosexuals At MIT) hung a drop poster in Lobby 7 containing anti-gay insults and homophobic slurs. GAMIT was appropriately quick to condemn this action.

Nationally, gay activists have been in controversy. Shortly before Christmas pro-gay demonstrators entered St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. One demonstrator desecrated a communion wafer, which according to Catholics is the body of Jesus Christ. This action increased tension between the two factions. BGLAD ended last Friday, after many pro-gay events, demonstrations and posterings.

Y'know, I'm going to be hung out to dry for writing that. I just sat here, in the Tech office, staring at the screen, re-reading it over and over, debating whether or not I wanted to wipe it off the computer system and write another column about a dog who attended classes or an ugly statue on campus. Suddenly it came to me. That feeling, the feeling of dread at expressing my opinion, is called oppression. It's something that gays have been fighting against for years.

Is it allowable to be anti-homosexual in GAMIT's eyes? Well, that's an interesting point. Gregory S. Richardson '91 wrote a letter in The Tech's March 6 issue stating that he does not agree with homosexuality. That's disagreement, not hatred, not a desire to act in any way upon his views. In fact, I cannot locate a single adjective in his entire letter describing homosexuals themselves, only homosexuality.

GAMIT's response in the March 9 issue, penned by GAMIT General Coordinator Jason M. Satterfield '90, in the beginning agrees with some of Richardson's views. It quickly shifts, however, to an odd connection. The second paragraph begins with the statement "GAMIT is not denouncing the right to be homophobic," which sets Richardson up indirectly as a homophobe, a dubious description at best.

A few paragraphs down, it states, "GAMIT does not condemn Richardson for not being able to accept homosexuality, but does condemn the results that his oppressive mode of thought encourages." Whoa, wait a second, read that one back. We won't condemn him for thinking that, but we will condemn the results of thinking like that? Isn't that somewhat akin to saying, "It's OK to wear fur, but it's abominable to let it touch your skin."?

There are legitimate reasons to disagree with homosexuality, religious or otherwise. And therefore it follows that it's OK to allow the views this "mode of thought" encourages, as long as no one's rights are being violated. GAMIT might do well do be aware of the discomfort their publicity campaigns can cause to some members of the community. I am not suggesting that GAMIT in any way be oppressed or censored. However, a little understatement can go a long way.

Once last term a prominent GAMIT member who lived on my floor came into my room in a shockingly revealing outfit and told me she just "wanted to see if any of your Catholic friends were around so I could shock them." I had known this person all term, and I knew she was just joking. I laughed. So why did I feel so uncomfortable about the remark afterwards?

At times I have a feeling that GAMIT doesn't think some religious people should BGLAD about their religion. Nationally, in incidents like the one in St. Patrick's Cathedral mentioned above, this feeling is even stronger. Most people who can't accept homosexuality are not trying to force anyone else to believe in their views. Please don't tell anyone that his or her beliefs are oppressive to you just because they are in disagreement with your beliefs.

Anyone who sits down and writes an intelligent argument probably isn't someone who is a danger to homosexuals. The GAMIT view that opinion like Richardson's is encouraging violence against homosexuals doesn't wash. This is somewhat like claiming that an intelligently written pro-life argument is a direct cause of abortion clinic bombings. GAMIT is confusing the argument with the radicals who take it too far.

who

Bill Jackson '93 is a Tech columnist who is really starting to upset the guy who usually writes these biographical blurbs.

By Dave Watt

Graduate students would be assigned to Institute housing based on a two-tier lottery system and Tang Hall apartments would house only first-year graduate students under a new plan for graduate housing put forth by Lawrence E. Maguire, director housing and food services.

According to Maguire, the plan would provide a total of 930 beds per year for incoming graduate students and would be phased in gradually over the next four years. Members of the Graduate Student Council and the Graduate Housing and Student Affairs Committee (HSA), which worked for months on a plan of its own for housing new graduate students ["Graduate housing plan supported," Nov. 28, 1989], have protested the proposal.

Under Maguire's plan, a first lottery would determine whether a first-year graduate student would get housing. These contracts would last for only one year. At the end of the first year on campus, the student could either enter into the second lottery to obtain tenured housing or move off campus. The two-tier lottery would affect all on-campus graduate residences except for Tang Hall, which would house only incoming students.

Forty percent of the spaces in Ashdown would be reserved for incoming students and 60 percent for continuing graduate students. The other dormitories -- including Green Hall, Eastgate and Westgate -- would be held to a quota of 50 percent for each.

[bb] William R. Dickson '56, senior vice president of MIT, felt the impact of Maguire's plan would be minimal. "The change is not overly significant," he said. "Graduate housing is pretty much the same as it has always been except for the question of room assignments. There is really quite small an impact in my opinion," he added. Dickson will make the final decision on a graduate student housing plan.

The GSC's plan, approved by consensus in the HSA and by a 29-3 vote of the GSC, calls for all of the houses to commit to providing as much space for incoming graduate students as possible, and reserves the new Albany Street dormitory for new graduate students. Their plan also creates specific quotas for the number of new graduate students each house must accept. How the quotas would be attained would be left to the discretion of each house. In the event that a house could not meet its quota by other means, the two-lottery system would go into effect.

Graduates express concern

about housing plan

Tang Hall officers were upset by Maguire's proposal. "This plan is really disruptive for people in Tang," said Ann C. Westerheim G, a past president of the Tang Hall Residents Association. "The whole thing was started because of the GSC housing survey, and now [Maguire is] ignoring the GSC's advice," she said.

Maguire believed that Tang Hall was in need of renovation and "a new mission." He felt "the space [in Tang] is too small to serve the function it was supposed to serve," and that "it's not a great atmosphere." However, "it could work for first year students," he said.

Westerheim rejected Maguire's criticisms of Tang. "Many more people move from Ashdown into Tang than move from Tang to Ashdown," she said.

Tang Hall supports the GSC plan, according to Gautam Nayar G, current president of THRA.

Leaders in other graduate student dormitories were also concerned about the impact of the Maguire proposal. "I don't want my house to become like an apartment building," said Janet L. Pan G, president of Green Hall. "We get the impression that [Maguire] is more interested in packing in large numbers of students into Green Hall without caring what the quality of life for those students will become."

Pan was also concerned that Green Hall, with only 46 students, will have little continuity in house government because students interested in running the house might have to leave after one year. She also expressed concern that the residents would no longer be interested in housewide social activities.

Most of the people interviewed were surprised to learn that Maguire's proposal included the two-lottery system. Nayar, Westerheim, Pan, and Arnout M. Eikeboom G, president of the Ashdown House Executive Committee (AHEC), were all surprised to learn that Maguire's plan included the two-lottery system of allocating spaces in the residences, which takes control of allocating tenured housing away from the individual dormitories.

Michael J. Warwick G, president of the GSC, reluctantly supported the idea of having the two-lottery system in the graduate dormitories. "I'm being pragmatic -- it's still [Maguire's] job, and he's got to do what he's got to do. . . . Under the circumstances, it's the best we can hope for," he said.

Julia J. Vail G, HSA chair, criticized Maguire's memo outlining his housing plan. "The proposal was vague and grossly incomplete."

AHEC has not taken a position on Maguire's proposal, although representatives of Ashdown voted in favor of the GSC proposal. Eikeboom had no comment on Maguire's plan.

Maguire additionally claimed that taking control of housing assignments and vacancy reports away from the houses will make the assignment process more efficient. "In order to assure that all spaces are being used you've got to have a very simple assignment process, and I don't think you can have a lot of middle people during the assignments," he said.

Vail, on the other hand, believed that the flexibility of the GSC plan was a strength, not a weakness. "Its unique features [are its] flexibility and individuality in terms of how the plan is administered in each house," she said. "There's a safety net default," she added, referring to the two-lottery system that would go into effect if quotas were not met.

Under the GSC plan, Ashdown would crowd some of its double rooms with three people, and convert some of its common areas into temporary bedrooms, according to AHEC documents. According to Eikeboom, Ashdown historically has had many vacancies by the end of the fall term, so it would be likely that all of the students in the overcrowded and temporary rooms would be able move into regular uncrowded rooms by the end of the fall term.

Maguire was concerned that aspects of the GSC plan "would create a kind of second-class citizenship for new graduate students," although he did not specifically claim that Ashdown's plan was one reason for this belief.

By Dave Watt

Graduate students would be assigned to Institute housing based on a two-tier lottery system and Tang Hall apartments would house only first-year graduate students under a new plan for graduate housing put forth by Lawrence E. Maguire, director housing and food services.

According to Maguire, the plan would provide a total of 930 beds per year for incoming graduate students and would be phased in gradually over the next four years. Members of the Graduate Student Council and the Graduate Housing and Student Affairs Committee (HSA), which worked for months on a plan of its own for housing new graduate students ["Graduate housing plan supported," Nov. 28, 1989], have protested the proposal.

Under Maguire's plan, a first lottery would determine whether a first-year graduate student would get housing. These contracts would last for only one year. At the end of the first year on campus, the student could either enter into the second lottery to obtain tenured housing or move off campus. The two-tier lottery would affect all on-campus graduate residences except for Tang Hall, which would house only incoming students.

Forty percent of the spaces in Ashdown would be reserved for incoming students and 60 percent for continuing graduate students. The other dormitories -- including Green Hall, Eastgate and Westgate -- would be held to a quota of 50 percent for each.

[bb] William R. Dickson '56, senior vice president of MIT, felt the impact of Maguire's plan would be minimal. "The change is not overly significant," he said. "Graduate housing is pretty much the same as it has always been except for the question of room assignments. There is really quite small an impact in my opinion," he added. Dickson will make the final decision on a graduate student housing plan.

The GSC's plan, approved by consensus in the HSA and by a 29-3 vote of the GSC, calls for all of the houses to commit to providing as much space for incoming graduate students as possible, and reserves the new Albany Street dormitory for new graduate students. Their plan also creates specific quotas for the number of new graduate students each house must accept. How the quotas would be attained would be left to the discretion of each house. In the event that a house could not meet its quota by other means, the two-lottery system would go into effect.

Graduates express concern

about housing plan

Tang Hall officers were upset by Maguire's proposal. "This plan is really disruptive for people in Tang," said Ann C. Westerheim G, a past president of the Tang Hall Residents Association. "The whole thing was started because of the GSC housing survey, and now [Maguire is] ignoring the GSC's advice," she said.

Maguire believed that Tang Hall was in need of renovation and "a new mission." He felt "the space [in Tang] is too small to serve the function it was supposed to serve," and that "it's not a great atmosphere." However, "it could work for first year students," he said.

Westerheim rejected Maguire's criticisms of Tang. "Many more people move from Ashdown into Tang than move from Tang to Ashdown," she said.

Tang Hall supports the GSC plan, according to Gautam Nayar G, current president of THRA.

Leaders in other graduate student dormitories were also concerned about the impact of the Maguire proposal. "I don't want my house to become like an apartment building," said Janet L. Pan G, president of Green Hall. "We get the impression that [Maguire] is more interested in packing in large numbers of students into Green Hall without caring what the quality of life for those students will become."

Pan was also concerned that Green Hall, with only 46 students, will have little continuity in house government because students interested in running the house might have to leave after one year. She also expressed concern that the residents would no longer be interested in housewide social activities.

Most of the people interviewed were surprised to learn that Maguire's proposal included the two-lottery system. Nayar, Westerheim, Pan, and Arnout M. Eikeboom G, president of the Ashdown House Executive Committee (AHEC), were all surprised to learn that Maguire's plan included the two-lottery system of allocating spaces in the residences, which takes control of allocating tenured housing away from the individual dormitories.

Michael J. Warwick G, president of the GSC, reluctantly supported the idea of having the two-lottery system in the graduate dormitories. "I'm being pragmatic -- it's still [Maguire's] job, and he's got to do what he's got to do. . . . Under the circumstances, it's the best we can hope for," he said.

Julia J. Vail G, HSA chair, criticized Maguire's memo outlining his housing plan. "The proposal was vague and grossly incomplete."

AHEC has not taken a position on Maguire's proposal, although representatives of Ashdown voted in favor of the GSC proposal. Eikeboom had no comment on Maguire's plan.

Maguire additionally claimed that taking control of housing assignments and vacancy reports away from the houses will make the assignment process more efficient. "In order to assure that all spaces are being used you've got to have a very simple assignment process, and I don't think you can have a lot of middle people during the assignments," he said.

Vail, on the other hand, believed that the flexibility of the GSC plan was a strength, not a weakness. "Its unique features [are its] flexibility and individuality in terms of how the plan is administered in each house," she said. "There's a safety net default," she added, referring to the two-lottery system that would go into effect if quotas were not met.

Under the GSC plan, Ashdown would crowd some of its double rooms with three people, and convert some of its common areas into temporary bedrooms, according to AHEC documents. According to Eikeboom, Ashdown historically has had many vacancies by the end of the fall term, so it would be likely that all of the students in the overcrowded and temporary rooms would be able move into regular uncrowded rooms by the end of the fall term.

Maguire was concerned that aspects of the GSC plan "would create a kind of second-class citizenship for new graduate students," although he did not specifically claim that Ashdown's plan was one reason for this belief.