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Kirby misinterprets UA alcohol policy survey's imprecise results

The letter to the editor by J. Paul Kirby '92 about the results of a recent survey conducted by the Undergraduate Association Standing Committee on Student Life for Alcohol Policy was brain-damaged and made no sense at all ["UA alcohol committee survey provided reliable information," March 5].

Kirby implies that there was something deficient about getting only 12 responses from Random Hall. If he had ever bothered to visit Random, he would know it is a small dorm with less than 85 people. Twelve people out of 85 is above the 11-percent response rate for the campus as a whole.

Kirby states that he wasn't looking for a "precise sense of community perceptions." The results of any survey with an 11-percent response rate would be laughed at by a social scientist. The respondents are going to be the people most discontented with the current system.

Kirby states that I and the other 89 percent of the campus who don't actively participate in efforts to prevent drug and alcohol use problems are ignorant and need to be educated.

Has Kirby ever considered we might have to do other things with our time, like doing problem sets, working, eating or sleeping? As to whether MIT's alcohol policies are enforced, of course some people don't think they are enforced.

They aren't always, here or at most schools, because preventing every person under 21 from ever drinking would be ludicrously impossible to enforce. Kirby says that he doesn't think education and representation conflict.

But when somebody writes off 89 percent of the campus as ignorant, I think that pretty much precludes him from representing our views, whether on an alcohol committee or as UA vice president.

Allan Chong '92->