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SAE makes its own Smoots

By Reuven M. Lerner

The pledge class of Sigma Alpha Epsilon painted their own version of the legendary Smoots markings on the Harvard Bridge on Saturday evening. The lines, which were marked off in units of "TAS," partially overlapped with the existing Smoots.

SAE President Henry J. Dotterer '91 said yesterday, "Yes, we painted the bridge," but refused to give a reason. He also said that SAE had not officially sponsored the act.

Brian S. Teeple '91, the president of Lambda Chi Alpha, which first painted the Smoots in October 1958, was disappointed with SAE. "This is a little more serious than pledge raids that usually go on," he said.

Dotterer said that SAE and LCA pledges will clean up the new markings together. "The pledges will be getting together to clean up the bridge . . . to show interfraternity unity."

This will "hopefully send a message to SAE that the Smoots and bridge are more than just our own little thing. . . . They are part of MIT tradition, not just a fraternity prank," Teeple commented.

This is not the first year that SAE has painted over parts of the Smoots. Teeple said that a similar incident occurred last year, but that LCA members were able to paint over the markings with gray paint. "This year, [they] covered up quite a few Smoots," he added.

Teeple explained that the Smoots are usually repainted by LCA pledges "once each term -- just before it gets too cold in the fall, and after the snow thaws in the spring." He added that "we have permission from the city of Boston," and that "when freshmen go to paint the bridge, we give them a letter from the police chief of Boston to explain that they have permission to do this."

Earlier in the day, Brian Hermes, a spokesman for the Metropolitan District Commission, which is in charge of the bridge, had said that "detectives would be sent to follow up" if there were any suspects in the case. He added that such suspects would then be prosecuted for vandalizing public property.

(Editor's note: Joanna Stone contributed to the reporting of this article.)