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Tech editors inappropriate in condensing letters

Imagine my surprise when I opened the Sept. 24 issue of The Tech to find that the letter to the editor I had written was on page 5, albeit with a large and very important chunk (approximately 35 percent of the original) missing. This modification altered the meaning of my letter, and I think it was especially unfair of The Tech to entitle my letter "Misunderstanding of facts from Vietnam mar Hersch column" after deleting almost all of the facts I had included.

I realize that The Tech's "Letters policy" states that "The Tech reserves the right to edit or condense letters," but I don't think that the current method of editing is fair to either the letter writer or The Tech's readers. I suggest that The Tech place the words "This letter compressed due to spacial restrictions" above compressed letters, place ellipses at the location of deleted text and, when possible, contact the author of the letter prior to publication in order to obtain approval of The Tech's modifications or deletions. Most letters in The Tech are written by MIT students, faculty or staff who can be reached easily by phone. I periodically hear from other people that they have similar complaints about The Tech's letters policy, and I think that the above-mentioned changes will make for a fairer representation of the opinions of members of the MIT community in The Tech.

Robert Plotkin '93->

(Editor's Note: Letters to the editor are the property of The Tech. Due to space considerations, The Tech does edit letters on occasion. The editors attempt to, whenever possible, preserve all of the ideas in a letter. In this case, it necessitated shortening a list of facts provided to back up one of the writer's points. The Tech does not provide any information regarding publication or editing of a letter.)