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ATO responds to community pressure

On Saturday, Feb. 24, Alpha Tau Omega had their annual "Heaven and Hell" party. The <>

T-shirts associated with this party had a picture of a man holding a woman's bikini top with an angel over one of his shoulders and a devil over the other. The caption above the angel read, "You'll regret it," over the devil it said "Do it. You know she wants it." Underneath was printed "Which would you choose?"

We believe that this T-shirt promotes one of the most insidious myths about rape, namely that a woman desires to be forced into sex. It allows doubt as to whether when a woman says "No," she means it. This attitude creates a threatening atmosphere for women at MIT.

We understand that ATO neither created this attitude nor monopolizes it. Many members of the fraternity have expressed concern. However, their insensitivity to the implications of this <>

T-shirt, in fact, results in the promotion of date rape.

We condemn this attitude. We also hope that the reaction to this type of sexism will be to educate members of the MIT community. Violence against women is unacceptable.

Rachel Harmon '90->

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(Editor's note: This letter received the support of the presidents of Alpha Phi, Alpha Chi Omega, Sigma Kappa, and the Pan-Hellenic Conference; Michelle L. Bush '91 of the Association of Women Students; GAMIT President Jason M. Satterfield '90; the president and vice president of the Undergraduate Association; non-resident ATO members Eric G. Blackman '90 and Jose E. Lopez Cordova '91; and others.)

Addendum: After the writing of this letter and other complaints, ATO withdrew the <>

T-shirts. I was impressed with both the speed and seriousness with which Miles Arnone, the IFC president, and Ivan Cheng, the ATO president, addressed the issue. However, it is unfortunate that it took the threat of a public response to motivate ATO to act.

It is important that all members of the house thoroughly understand the issues involved. ATO and other living groups should provide date rape and sexism education for members to reduce the likelihood of a similar incident. I hope that this letter informs the MIT community about the reaction to the T-shirt. The most important aspect of this incident is that there are many members of the student body who will work together to eliminate sexism on campus. -- RH

Sara Bottfeld '91->

President, Alpha Phi->

Sharra Davidson '91->

President, Alpha Chi Omega->

Arlene Yang '91->

President, Sigma Kappa->

Sallie Israelit '91

President,->

Pan-Hellenic Conference->

Michelle Bush '92->

Association of Women Students->

Paul Antico '91->

UA President ->

and Andy Strehle '91->

UA Vice President, ->

and others->

Education Coordinator,->

AIDS Response at MIT->