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Vest Joins Students in Protest on Friday

By Eva Moy
Associate News Editor

Over 450 members of the MIT community marched silently across campus on Friday, protesting what they called the injustice and inequality of the American justice system. The march came only three days after a jury in California acquitted four police officers of charges that they had beaten motorist Rodney King excessively.

After gathering at the Great Sail at about 12:15 p.m., the group, which eventually numbered about 600 people, marched in a single file line to Kresge Oval.

Among the participants were President Charles M. Vest and Associate Provost Samuel J. Keyser.

Alluding to last week's verdict, Vest said, "The events in Los Angeles have aroused in all of us a combination of sadness, anger, and frustration. I was moved as an individual to participate in the silent march to indicate that I care about justice and tolerance and to be supportive of MIT's African-American students who organized it."

Marchers were helped across Massachusetts Avenue by Campus Police, who allowed the protesters to proceed unhindered by traffic. After arriving at Kresge Oval, Reginald Parker '92 and Dale L. Le Febvre '93, the organizers of the event, called the turnout "touching," and spoke briefly about the reasons for the protest.

Le Febvre said the march was not just about the King verdict, but also "about the fact that there are a lot of minority groups in this country that are oppressed. I'm not truly free because I have to be afraid when I walk through the streets at night, because I'm a black man. The Declaration of Independence says I have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but I can't adequately pursue happiness with things the way they are."

Vest said, "More than anything, this is a time to reflect on injustice, and the devastating effects that injustice can have on both individuals and on our nation."

Marie E. V. Coppola contributed to the reporting of this story.