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Men's volleyball season ends wiht win over Tufts

By Alex Chen

The men's varsity volleyball team ended their season on April 10 with a 3-1 win over Tufts, after returning from a successful showing in a tri-match at East Stroudsbourg University the previous Saturday.

ESU, ranked fifth in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association and 17th in the nation, beat MIT 3-1 in very close games of 15-13, 13-15, 15-6, and 15-13.

"We should have won," said sophomore setter Jim Szfranzski.

Despite this loss, the Engineers continued to play well and proceeded to beat Roger Williams College handily in four games. The Engineers' offense, led by senior Roland Rocafort, beat the Hawks into submission. Team captain Chris White '90 said, "That was the best game of my life."

Earlier in the season, Roger Williams nudged out MIT from the EIVA playoffs (the first time MIT has not gone in its six years).

The Engineers ended their season with a 5-3 record within the division and 9-6 overall. As Faris Hitti '92 pointed out, "The number of matches we played [was] fewer than normal, and the lack of game time did not help." The plague of injuries, which lasted throughout the season, also did not help. In light of the talent within the team, the season's losses were a great disappointment.

With only three seniors graduating (Chen, Rocafort, and White), the prospects for next year are very bright. The remaining three starters will be joined by two sophomores who could have filled in at almost any time this year and a much-improved bench.

(Alex Chen '90 is a member of the men's volleyball team.)

Some time last year, when I was a freshman, I was making one of my regular nightly trips from the main building back to my home in Chocolate City with a friend of mine (we'll call him Doug). As we were passing by Baker House, I told him to come in with me for a moment so that I could go visit someone. When we got to the door there were some residents entering the dorm using their keys. Doug and I went in behind them. Just as we got to the steps they turned to us.

"Are you guys residents?" one of them asked.

"No," we responded.

"Then you have to check in at the desk before you can go in."

We walked over to the desk and told the person working there that we wanted to go visit one of the residents. She said okay, and we went upstairs. As we were walking along the fifth floor to our destination, bells began ringing throughout the house accompanied by flashing lights. Neither Doug nor I knew what it was for and paid it no mind. We went into the room of the person I had come to visit, and shortly afterwards, we left. The bells were still ringing. The lights were still flashing. As we were walking to the stairs, three of the men that we had come in behind charged up behind us.

"Who do you think you're shittin', man?!"

"What?" we asked, completely confounded as to why we had been confronted in such a manner.

"Okay, let's go. You're goin' out," one of them said, waving his hands as if to shoo us out.

"What are you talking about?" I asked.

"Let's go," he said, still waving his hands.

Doug and I turned and continued on our way out, still not understanding, but not really interested. As we were walking, the three men in question followed us out -- at a range of less than a foot. I was beginning to feel harassed. I stopped. The resident behind me jumped into me.

"Back up off me," I said very slowly. He didn't respond, so I said it more firmly. "Back up!" He backed up to a distance of about five feet. Doug and I kept walking. As we got to the doors, the residents shouted out a hearty, "Bye, bye" to us. The next day I heard from a friend of mine in Baker that two Cambridge high school students had been flushed out of the dorm.

A few days later, I went to the Deans' Office with a complaint about that incident. The Dean talked a good game, but eventually, the issue was just swept aside as are so many controversial issues at MIT. After this routine of harmlessly entering Baker and being viciously questioned or asked for ID occurred a few more times to me and other black friends of mine, I simply accepted the fact that Baker House was full of a bunch of "negrophobes," and I, as a negro, simply wasn't welcome.

Recently, however, I came across some literature that is published by Bakerites and distributed to the house's residents. It was the Confidential Guide to Baker House '89, and it described the urchin, the urchin alert, and what to do in case of such an alert. On page seven, in section 2.16, it describes the urchin policy as follows:

"An urchin is a Cambridge or Boston resident, usually not a student and usually of high school age, bent on causing trouble. They are good at stealing bicycles and just about anything else out in the open and not chained down. . . .

"If you see someone you don't recognize in the House, ask them what they are doing. If you feel this person has no business being here, ask them politely to leave. If they refuse, ask them not-so-politely to leave. If they refuse again, bash their fucking head in with a lead pipe.

"You can also call the desk and ask them to ring two bells. This is the Urchin Alert. If you hear the urchin bells, first lock your door and protect your room. Next, grab your favorite weapon and quickly report to the front desk area. There, you will be notified of the nature of the urchin alert and the probable location of the urchin. Bakerites will then act quickly to flush out and capture the urchin. Some Bakerites will go on a `search and destroy' mission and seek out the urchin. Others will swiftly secure all exits out of Baker to keep the urchin from escaping. Happy Hunting.

"Urchin Alerts may also be called to stop non-Bakerite MIT students from doing mischievous acts inside Baker. In the recent past, students from other MIT living groups have stolen the Baker House foosball table, stolen the House Christmas Tree, attempted to steal Baker lounge furniture, and pulled false fire alarms.

"It is very important that all Bakerites respond promptly to Urchin Alerts. This is your home. Defend it!"

Upon reading this, I was appalled. I could not believe that they actually have literature that supports and encourages such rash, vigilante behavior. I told a few of my friends about it, and they, too, were appalled. Given the ethnic persuasion of most of the neighborhoods in the area along with the fact that I could probably count the number of black Bakerites on my two hands (if not one), I think I know who is most likely to be "someone you don't recognize."

Last week, I told a Baker resident about the situation, and she said that since there are a number of outside doors in Baker that remain open, residents are likely to be on edge. She said that she thought that the residents were at fault for using such hostile tactics in determining the nature of questionable guests, but she also thought that anyone who was approached in that manner was at fault for losing his temper, which served to solve nothing.

"You're a fool," I said. I'm sorry, but if I'm walking along minding my business, and a group of angry people run up to me wielding their "favorite weapons," I'm not going to stop to ask questions and try to be rational. I'm going to think about defending myself, even if it means hurting someone else, and that's not a reaction of which I'm ashamed.

"But we've caught people in the dorm with thousands of dollars of stolen jewelry on them," she said. "What can we do?"

"She really is a fool," I thought. Perhaps she hadn't read page six of the Confidential Guide to Baker House '89, which says, "The local police force here to protect you is the Campus Police." Maybe calling them is an option. Or maybe the geniuses of Baker haven't yet discovered the simple solution found in all the other dorms on campus: Lock your doors. It's obviously too simple and too elegant for them to see, but trust me, it usually works. More frustrating than the encounter, more frustrating than the lack of support from the dean, more frustrating than reading the condoning of such activity in black and white was the apathy displayed by the residents about the policy. The resident with whom I spoke simply didn't seem to care. It is this type of apathy that disturbed me about Mark M. Lee '93's (yes, I'm going to dig this issue up from its grave) degradation of blacks on his campaign poster; it was not the act that I found as offensive as his statement that "my friends have told me that I have done nothing wrong or illegal, and that I should not apologize. I think it's appropriate that I apologize for whatever I've done to offend people." What kind of apology is that?

I wish that the more sensible residents of Baker (and I know personally that there are several) would get more involved in the making of policy in the house. I wish that those who enjoy the thrill of the urchin hunts would seriously stop to think about the serious potential dangers of their actions; some innocent person (an urchin or a Bakerite) could get hurt. Incidents like these coupled with the apathetic attitudes that follow them only serve to create schisms in our community, which just make it that much longer before we, as people, are truly together.


Chip Morton is a sophomore in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.