Sr. House tutor convicted
By Jeremy Hylton
Andrew W. Howitt G, a former Senior House floor tutor, was convicted of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute in Cambridge District Court on Dec. 11. Howitt, a student in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, was sentenced to two years probation and 50 hours of community service.
Howitt could not be reached for comment last night.
The Committee on Discipline (COD) will review Howitt's case in early February, said Betty H. Sultan, staff assistant to the Dean for Student Affairs. COD Chair Sheila E. Widnall '60 was out of town and could not be reached for comment.
Howitt is not living on campus this term, and, according to Dean for Student Affairs Arthur C. Smith, is not registered for classes.
Smith and others in the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs would not comment on details of the case, saying that their comments might influence the outcome of Howitt's hearing before the COD. Also, Institute policy prevents disclosure of information about individual students, Smith said.
Howitt had been a tutor at the Holman entry in Senior House. He was suspended from tutoring and left the dorm after allegations that he supplied students with drugs surfaced last July, according to Professor James T. Higginbotham, housemaster at Senior House.
Several students in Howitt's entry "thought very highly of him," said Higginbotham. One Senior House resident who wished to remain anonymous said, "I cannot imagine any circumstances under which [Howitt] would impose upon someone else, or even suggest to anyone else that they do something that would put them in danger."
According to the student, many Senior House residents believe that Howitt's arrest and suspension as entry tutor are related to the death of David G. Moore '91. Moore died after falling from a fifth floor Senior House balcony in July. Several sources said at the time that Moore apparently jumped from the balcony while under the influence of LSD.
"We [Senior House students] are upset with the way we have been treated. . . . I feel we have been held collectively responsible for Dave's death.
"It seems like [MIT and Cambridge police] are looking for something to do to make it better. They're trying to blame someone, paint over something," the student said.
The student alleged that MIT has tried to make a connection between a Senior House mural and Moore's death. The "Sport Death" mural, as it is known, was painted nearly 25 years ago. The mural espouses what the student described as "a philosophy from days gone by -- to love life
and live dangerously."
"The Institute has given [Senior House residents] a lot of trouble about the mural. They
wanted us to paint over it," the student said. "Accusations were made that that philosophy and that way of living were connected with David's death."
Smith recognizes that student drug use occurs on campus. "I think it would be naive to say there are no drugs on the MIT campus. It would also be inappropriate to say they are isolated to Senior House," he said.
Student drug use is "a serious concern of the Institute," said Smith. He described the thrust of MIT's drug abuse programs as preventative and educational.
"We are quite concerned about any drug use on the campus and try to make clear to students why that is not a good thing to be doing," he explained.
The dean's office does investigate individual cases when it is made aware of them, said Smith. He cautioned, though, that the Institute does not inspect rooms or search for drugs. "We are not in the business of knocking on students' doors and asking them if they're using drugs," he said.