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Letters to the Editor

I agree with the statement in Randall T. Whitman '94's letter to the editor ["Letters Imply All Women Support Abortion," April 10] that it is much too often implied that if one is a woman, one will support abortion. Well, here is one woman that doesn't.

What I find in pro-life people is that we tend to be conservative in nature (which does not mean being narrow-minded). As a result, people will not find all of us in anti-abortion demonstrations. Instead, people will find us supporting the pro-life cause from deep within our hearts and minds. I have found that it is difficult to speak on this matter because those who are set on their abortion ideas will not hear our reasoning. They feel that pro-lifers are imposing their moral principles on them, but the argument goes far beyond morals. It's about the downfall of society. This is a strong argument that pro-choicers choose to ignore. Just remember that (as others have stated) "one wrong does not justify another."

Frances M. Pinedo '93

SRG Treated Wrongly by Self-Important Groups

The theft of the UA ballot box, which at first appeared merely to be a prank deserving little more than a good laugh, has revealed itself to be the cause of a series of events demanding serious attention. The latest episode in this story has been the unanimous UA vote "to request the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs to conduct hearings for five students."

This action is thus far the most significant in a series of responses (or should I write knee-jerks?) to the ballot theft. Only the most naive reader of the manifesto of the SRG could take that organization with such seriousness. That document was an obvious parody of several political theorists from Jefferson to Marx. One has to wonder about the mentality of a group of people who feel directly threatened and offended by such a clearly facetious document.

While Wednesday's vote is but one of a series of insipid acts by the UA, it is certainly the most appalling and revealing. Besides the fact that it is an "Undergraduate Association" harassing five of its own, it is indicative of how correctly chosen the words of the conceivers of the SRG and two of the candidates for UA president and vice-president were: The UA is an ineffectual group acting to pad a resume. By attacking a group of students that deigns to criticize it, the UA is acting in the manner of a totalitarian state against a dissident minority. Rather than confront the fact that it is not well regarded within the student body, the UA is exercising its power (with obvious enjoyment) to punish the most conspicuous examples of that ill regard.

While student misconduct is normally reported to and handled by the Committee on Discipline, the theft of the UA ballots has been given the privileged position of attention from the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs, with obvious UA approval. One cannot help but be curious about where the UA's true allegiances lie.

this should surely be it.

The constellation of events and non-events surrounding the ballot box theft have made it clear that the act was one of genuine humor and brilliance. It is hard to think of a more entertaining and convincing exposition of the sorry fact that the UA is largely a self-important organization at once aloof from and antagonistic to the very student body it purports to represent. The more vigorously it acts against these students, the more this is confirmed.

Nicholas L. Cassimatis '94

Legality of Concert Searches Should Be Examined

The Tech received a copy of this letter addressed to Campus Police Chief Anne Glavin.

I recently purchased a ticket to the upcoming Violent Femmes concert sponsored by the Student Center Committee. After receiving the ticket I was handed a sheet of paper claiming that "MIT retains the right to search all people before entering the building." I hope that you and your police officers have no intention of having anything to do with these searches.

As you are well aware, due to our similar correspondence two years ago, the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution prevents anyone from being searched without a warrant, probable cause, or consent. I, and I assume most other MIT students, have not given consent to being searched. Some vague concept of "implied consent" is not good enough, especially when the information about the search was given after the ticket was purchased. Explicit consent is necessary.

If SCC members try to conduct the search, then there is some possibility that it is legal, as they may be acting in their private capacity. This still raises questions about what will be done if they find something they believe to be illegal. Will they make a citizen's arrest? Will they attempt to confiscate it? If, however, they are acting on behalf of MIT, an institution that receives federal funding and to which the the Massachusetts Civil Rights Code applies, then these actions are clearly illegal.

The Campus Police are fully Cambridge police. They are given this power by the state. This means they have the power and the responsibility to make an arrest if contraband is found in any search, and that an order from one of them, for example to open a bag, has the power and the threat of the state behind it. To counterbalance these powers they are, fortunately, bound by the laws of the state. They may not conduct these searches without probable cause.

While SCC may have made some contract with the band, that contract has no power over other MIT students who have not signed it. Even if there were a contract between SCC and myself, police officers cannot enforce such a contract between other individuals. It is none of the campus police's business.

The argument that it is illegal to bring alcohol or weapons to a concert is irrelevant. The chance that some rule may be broken does not justify searches.

I therefore expect that there will be no police officers conducting mandatory (or "coerced voluntary") searches at the entrance to this concert. Additionally, I hope that SCC has considered the legal implications should its members attempt to conduct any searches. There should be no repercussions, in terms of attending the concert or in any other way, against any student that stands on his or her Fourth Amendment rights and refuses to be searched.

Adam Dershowitz G