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Letters to the Editor

I was alarmed and disturbed by student commentary in The Tech on Friday ["UA Discusses Possibility of Student Honor Code," Feb. 7]. Jun B. Lee '94 is reported to have said that cheating is unavoidable because of the high-pressure environment at MIT. I feel it is important to note that each and every student is subject to the same overwhelming pressures. Yet not all MIT students cheat. It is possible to succeed at MIT without cheating, and I would like to think that my peers are strong enough to overcome temptation for the sake of integrity.

It is similarly upsetting to hear that David J. Kessler '94 feels many MIT students would simply disregard an honor code. Unfortunately, from other student comments I've read in The Tech this school year, I believe his prediction is well-founded. Students have said that cheating is no big deal, that everyone does it, and that cheating simply hurts the individual. However, since most MIT classes are graded on a curve, a cheating student in one of my classes not only hurts himself, he hurts me, and he hurts the rest of the students in the class.

Students who have maintained their integrity in an environment contaminated by corruption should be commended and encouraged not to be shy about their feelings. Those of my peers who say that cheating is no big deal and unavoidable should reconsider the ramifications of their actions -- cheating hurts others.

Bradley Edelman '93

Free Speech Does Not Protect Ethnic "Jokes"

Freedom of speech and the privilege of attending an institution like MIT imply, but admittedly do not always require, responsibility. As MIT's president, it often falls to me to defend freedom of speech and academic freedom on our campus. I do so gladly and with conviction, because it is important that our campus and society allow people to give voice to difficult questions and analyses that may differ radically from the norm.

Such defenses begin to ring hollow, however, when individuals engage in mindless, offensive, and hurtful behavior just to "prove a point." This is precisely how I would characterize the use of computer bulletin boards by an MIT student to disseminate repugnant ethnic "jokes" (as noted in a recent article in The Tech).

Surely those who exercise freedom of speech have a responsibility to consider the consequences of what they say. Disparaging remarks about certain groups within our community are hurtful to those individuals and diminish us all.

Charles M. Vest


Computer Network Not the Place for Anti-Semitic Humor

Editor's note: The Tech received a copy of this letter addressed to President Vest.

I'm deeply disturbed about reports that at least one student at MIT is using the computer network to broadcast misogynist and anti-Semitic jokes, even Holocaust jokes. The use of our communications technology in this way can only diminish and dehumanize the members of some groups in the eyes of others. To dehumanize is a precursor to harassment, and even to persecution and terror. If individuals want to demean themselves by telling such jokes in private, they are free to do so. But to use MIT communication facilities to greatly amplify the audience for such jokes should not be considered acceptable behavior at MIT. It is difficult enough to create a community of civility and caring where people feel safe to share and learn without being confronted with such ugly assault.

Rev. Scott Paradise

Episcopal Chaplain

Institute Recycling Needs Improvement

I recently spent some time at a certain Ivy League school a couple of hours south of here. Like MIT, this school is one of the largest organizations in its city. Unlike MIT, this school has made a superb effort to set an example for the rest of the city by its behavior. Standing anywhere on campus, either indoors or out, one can easily spot the recycling bins that have become so pervasive. One can always find a bin within a few dozen meters, not only for paper recycling of various sorts, but also for cans and other recyclables.

In contrast, I have found that in order to recycle even the most common type of waste, plain paper, I have to get to an Athena terminal room. Even worse, I have managed to find only two can recycling bins on the entire campus, and one of these is in a locked room (the 6.001/6.004 computer lab), into which one is not even (officially) allowed to bring drinks!MIT has an obligation to the community, not to mention to the rest of the planet, to set an example by making a very visible and enthusiastic push towards recycling of waste.

I suggest that a good start to such a push would be to distribute recycling bins of all kinds at regular intervals around the campus. Ideally, there would be recycling bins next to every trash bin, which would make it difficult for even the most ecologically apathetic person to avoid recycling.

Samuel R. Peretz '89

Pro-Life Downplays Significance of Roses

The Class of 1993 and MIT Pro-Life are each selling roses for Valentine's Day in Lobby 10 today. The MIT Pro-Life drop poster in Lobby 7, posters, and booth advertising downplay the political significance of the rose as the pro-life symbol, as well as the fact that the money raised will be used to further their anti-abortion agenda. If you disagree with the pro-life agenda, please purchase your Valentine's Day roses from the Class of 1993, not MIT Pro-Life.

Emily Yeh '93

Marcel Bruchez '95

Claire Woodman '95

Officers, MIT Students for Choice

UA President Seeks Input on Tuition

On Feb. 18, the Academic Council will meet to set next year's tuition rates. If you have anything to say to the Institute on this matter, please let me know before the 18th. Feel free to call at 253-2696, 225-7131, or send e-mail to stacymcg@athena. Thank you.

Stacy E. McGeever '93

Undergraduate Association President