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Letters to the Editor

The objective of APO's Ugliest Man On Campus contest is to raise funds for charities while making the process enjoyable to the student body. The most effective way to raise funds is to name a charity that few people would actively oppose.

If a controversial charity is chosen, the number of people who will donate drops significantly. While almost no one could seriously challenge the Jimmy Fund or Project Bread, many will challenge organizations founded for reasons of race, gender, creed, or other inherent human qualities. Therefore many people would pause if the designated charity were, for example, the ACLU (because it provides legal support for sometimes unpopular causes), Greenpeace (because some people question the organization's tactics), or Planned Parenthood (because it provides funds and counseling for birth control and abortion, and some object to one or both).

If the omission of Planned Parenthood were political, then it would be more effective if APO were to exclude PP while including groups such as Operation Rescue or Rev. Wildmon's crusaders. Instead, they omitted all groups judged "too controversial." That's a value judgment, but it is a reasonable one. APO's purpose is to support charities, not organizations which have deliberately involved themselves in controversial political issues.

It's not a conspiracy, and it's not a political agenda. It's simply economics: trying to raise as much money as possible for charities by offending as few people as possible.

Michele L. Matthews '95

Sexual Activity In Public Bathroom Disturbing

I would like to discuss an issue that has been disturbing me for several years now: homosexual activity in the men's bathrooms of the Institute.

Regardless of what I have to say in my defense, some member of the gay community will respond to this letter, either accusing me of repressive closed-mindedness or perhaps even expounding theories on a fear of my own latent homosexuality. I compose this letter, however, for completely different reasons.

It is very disturbing to feel apprehension about using a public restroom, yet as evening's darkness rolls over the campus, I often find myself fearing what I'll find behind the bathroom door. Instances of exposure, gross sexual behavior, privacy violations, sexual harassment, and remnant bodily discharge are not uncommon in the bathroom closest to my lab. Almost every male in the lab has reported being subjected to at least one of these transgressions, which means that I am not the Champion of Unfortunate Timing.

Now, I have no self-righteous moral belief that condemns gays or their behavior. Aside from this, I have no aversion to the activities that members of the gay community participate in. In all things, I try very hard to examine behavior patterns through another's eyes, and when that fails, I attempt to draw a conclusion about what I would do if I had to make a decision under similar conditions. In this instance, I am at a complete loss to draw any parallel rationalization.

I do understand the need some have for erotic encounters in public places. However, there is absolutely no way, under any circumstances, that I would desire to have a sexual encounter with my girlfriend in a public restroom. I find it to be an environment completely incompatible with the development of sexual energy, for reasons that I think most people would find obvious. If someone so desires, I can provide a list of at least ten other sites around the Institute, of a much more romantic and sterile nature, where any couple may choose to gratify their libidinous urges.

I feel very strongly that this offending behavior should cease, and in the hopes of resolving this, I request a little consideration for those of us who are beginning to dread using the public lavatories. I think the members of our community who engage in such activities should not expect those of us who don't to walk home every time we have to take care of our `personal business'.

Christopher Jalbert '90