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Letters to the Editor

A group of students took a UA ballot box. If there weren't any damage, I'd think it was just a hack. A copy of the "Manifesto of the Student's Revolutionary Government" appeared. If not for the stealing of the ballot box, I'd think this was a hack. Now I must conclude that these people are simply deluded.

The Manifesto accuses the UA of not acting as a government. The problem is that the UA was never meant to be a government in any real sense. A government is a structure intended to institute and enforce rules of conduct, so that society can work together in ways people want. From that point of view, it's not surprising that governments derive their power from the people, and that the people retain the right to change their government when it does not function properly.

The UA does not institute nor enforce rules of conduct. The MIT administration does that. The UA does not derive its power from the students. It derives its power from the MIT administration. What does the UA do?

It has three main purposes: it is a lobbying group to the MIT administration, intended to represent the general opinion of the undergraduate student body; it measures when the undergraduate student body wants certain services, and initiates them; and it provides an educational experience for council members in management and debate.

The UA plays a crucial role as a lobbying group. The MIT administration needs to cater to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, stockholders, and the U.S. government and other funding sources. The UA provides MIT with some approximation of student opinion, which can otherwise be difficult to estimate.

There is nothing requiring the MIT administration to respect this opinion, short of student protests. But a significant number of administrators take UA statements, and other sources of student input, into consideration when making decisions. This not only validates the UA as a useful organization, but demonstrates why the UA derives its power from MIT, not the students. If the Student's Revolutionary Government were to overthrow the UA, the MIT administration would first have to recognize it as a valid source of student opinion.

The role of the UA in student services is not as much in providing these services, as it is in initiating them. After some time, the service becomes more and more independent of the UA. This has happened with the Student Information Processing Board (SIPB) and A Safe Ride, and the Course Evaluation Guide (CEG) is less of an integral part of the UA than it used to be.

When students want a service, they should get enough of their friends to agree with them, and bring it up to a UA Council meeting. When they can convince enough people that this is a good idea, the UA can provide funds, publicity, and sometimes MIT support for the project. It's not a matter of the UA being lame or unreceptive on the topic of student services; it's a matter of students initiating services they feel should exist.

It's not the job of the UA president or vice president to run or initiate these services, as some candidates this year have implied; that is the role of the students who are interested in the services. As Bill Jackson pointed out, ["Ballot Theft Amusing but Ultimately Pointless," March 17] getting involved in the UA is a good way of getting the UA to do what you think it ought to do. The Manifesto seems to imply that the UA is a politically incestuous organization, unwilling to accept input from people who are not in the "UA clique". While I admit I'm not particularly active in the UA, the few times I have wanted to be heard, I have noticed the UA is, if anything, happy to see more students interested, for a change.

If enough students want to change the UA to warrant a revolution, it would be much easier for all these people to become UA Council representatives and control the UA that way. At the very least, they can storm a UA Council meeting and provide input. All undergraduates are members of the UA. They have the right to be heard at UA Council meetings, although they cannot vote there. And everyone has a UA Council representative. I find it hard to believe that it is difficult to get the UA to hear what the student body wants.

The Student's Revolutionary Government seems to be deluded in thinking the UA is a government, that they are not doing their "job," that the majority of the students are willing to change it, and that a revolution is the most effective way to create that change.

Kevin M. Iga '92

``Choice'' Group's Name is Misleading, Wrong

I am writing this letter to question the motivation behind the new Students for Choice group at MIT. Are they really Students for Choice? Do they condone an individual's right to choose in all situations? I don't believe they do. Perhaps a better name for their group would be "Students for Abortion."

We probably all agree that we live in a democracy with a less than infinite money supply. I believe that those two facts alone are enough to undermine the Students for Choice group. As members of a democracy, we are supposed to allow ourselves to be governed by the will of the majority. Are the Students for Choice a majority? I don't believe that they are. Yet they advocate spending the money of the majority to fund an action that is condoned only by a minority. I am sure that the group will disagree when I say that they represent a minority opinion, but how can they? Because our country has never elected an ardently "pro-choice" President, and because the Senate has approved in the last decade so many nominations of "pro-life" Justices to the Supreme Court, I find it difficult to believe that the "pro-choice" platform represents a majority.

As a minority opinion, the group should not expect any money from the government. If the government allocates money to the minority of "pro-choice" advocates, where can a line ever be drawn to guide government spending? If one minority group receives tax money, why not every other minority group? Eventually, the well of government funding runs dry. Our country is having enough financial trouble without exhausting its resources on a cause condemned by the majority. Churches with many more members than the Students for Choice group receive no government funding, and the majority of people support a church in one form or another. Students for Choice has a right in our society to express its desire for government money, but it must also respect the right of the majority to choose not to fund them.

This brings into question the "pro-choice" stance. Do they support choice, or abortion and political correctness? If a woman chooses to have an abortion, the group supports her. What if she chooses to become a prostitute? What if a woman chooses to abuse drugs? Are these women supported by the group? I doubt it. Are women who choose to murder their month-old infants supported? I think the group would endanger themselves if they agreed to support these women, but they do advocate abortion. As angry as they were when the "pro-life" group failed to clearly delineate its position when they were selling roses on Valentine's Day, maybe the Students for Choice should change their name to reflect their true platform. They should be MIT Students for Abortion, not Students for Choice.

John Rodkin '95

This is a head for ther ltr

I am writing this letter to question the motivation behind the new Students for Choice group at MIT. Are they really Students for Choice? Do they condone an individual's right to choose in all situations? I don't believe they do. Perhaps a better name for their group would be "Students for Abortion."

We probably all agree that we live in a democracy with a less than infinite money supply. I believe that those two facts alone are enough to undermine the Students for Choice group. As members of a democracy, we are supposed to allow ourselves to be governed by the will of the majority. Are the Students for Choice a majority? I don't believe that they are. Yet they advocate spending the money of the majority to fund an action that is condoned only by a minority. I am sure that the group will disagree when I say that they represent a minority opinion, but how can they? Because our country has never elected an ardently "pro-choice" President, and because the Senate has approved in the last decade so many nominations of "pro-life" Justices to the Supreme Court, I find it difficult to believe that the "pro-choice" platform represents a majority.

As a minority opinion, the group should not expect any money from the government. If the government allocates money to the minority of "pro-choice" advocates, where can a line ever be drawn to guide government spending? If one minority group receives tax money, why not every other minority group? Eventually, the well of government funding runs dry. Our country is having enough financial trouble without exhausting its resources on a cause condemned by the majority. Churches with many more members than the Students for Choice group receive no government funding, and the majority of people support a church in one form or another. Students for Choice has a right in our society to express their desire for government money, but they also must respect the right of the majority to choose not to fund them.

This brings into question the "pro-choice" stance. Do they support choice, or abortion and political correctness? If a woman chooses to have an abortion, the group supports her. What if she chooses to become a prostitute? What if a woman chooses to abuse drugs? Are these women supported by the group? I doubt it. Are women who choose to murder their month-old infants supported? I think the group would endanger themselves if they agreed to support these women, but they do advocate abortion. As angry as they were when the "pro-life" group failed to clearly delineate its position when they were selling roses on Valentine's Day, maybe the Students for Choice should change their name to reflect their true platform. They should be MIT Students for Abortion, not Students for Choice.

John Rodkin '95