Students enforce rush rules
Kudos to Adam R. Grossman '87 for his letter to The Tech, decrying fines against Bexley Hall for its "ROTC = Murder" sign ["Do not fine Bexley residents for exercising free speech rights," Sept. 6]. Adam's battle is a good one; however, he has misplaced what he believes to be his enemy in two significant ways.
First, Residence/Orientation fines are not assessed by the administration, but by the Mediations Committee or the DormCon or IFC Judicial Committees. Their rules are student-written and student-enforced, and not "whimsical interpretations" of my opinions about anything. As far as I am aware, the Judicial Committee has no ban on political protests during R/O; it has, however, claimed jurisdiction over other Bexley actions, which Bexley denies. My only role in this dispute has been to encourage all sides to articulate and pursue their positions in order to engender dialog.
Second, as most Bexley residents are probably aware, it is true that this past weekend I was at Bexley because of this protest sign -- not as a "bureaucrat" trying to trample free speech but to help those students who were afraid that the sign was about to be torn down. Indeed, I understand that the latest joke making the rounds of Bexley goes something like, "If the Baltic states can achieve independence, well then I suppose the Dean's Office can stand up for free speech."
But, of course, this isn't an issue of good versus evil and shouldn't be portrayed as such. MIT benefits from constructive dialog between students and administration, rather than from accusations and counter-accusations.
An academic community such as ours has the resources and the principles to choose negotiated cooperation over indignant confrontation. Both sides in this case have persuasive arguments; let them make them. But in that sense, I will pass on some advice I received only a few days ago: If you are out to attract bees, you will have better luck with honey than with vinegar.
Eliot S. Levitt '89->
Office of the Dean->
for Student Affairs->