Letters to the Editordemonstrates both shoddy journalistic practice and callous indifference to sexual harassment victims with its front page article regarding the accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination brought by Marina R. Erulkar SM '92 against Professor of Management Gabriel R. Bitran ["Jury Rules for MIT in Harassment Suit, Nov. 6].
First, the sub-headline of the article states "Bitran Did Not Sexually Harass." Simply because the jury did not find the defendant guilty does not mean the harassment did not occur. In the trial, Bitran admitted openly that he had kissed Erulkar on three occasions, and that on each and every one of those occasions she had strongly objected to his actions. Erulkar told him that his behavior was unwelcome and harassing, yet he continued in spite of this. In his defense during the trial, the professor stated that he "could not control" his impulses and eventually "suggested" that Erulkar find work elsewhere. By both MIT policy and EEOC guidelines, Bitran did indeed sexually harass Erulkar.
, another SJC ruling from l988, was included. While Butler does have discretion in instructing the jury, I find it irritating that she chose the earlier wording, requiring "severe and pervasive" conduct, rather than the language of the more recent case, which states that conduct sufficient to create a hostile, intimidating, or sexually offensive environment provides grounds for the plaintiff to recover in a sexual harassment suit.
I suggest that the entire Tech staff would benefit from one of the freely available "sensitivity" training sessions in sexual harassment. While these training sessions offer little to victims of harassment, the staff's attendance might provide the insight they are obviously lacking.
Mary E. Herndon G
Editor's note: The Tech stands by its interpretation of the jury's ruling.
Students Must Help Solve Campus Problems
It is commendable that Michael K. Chung '94 noticed some of the problems facing MIT ["A Wish List of Ideas for Changes on Campus," Nov. 6]. What would be even more commendable is for him to take action. Everyone I've met at MIT has at least one complaint; yet most everyone also feels that it is someone else's job to change MIT. Well I've got news for you: it's your job, and my job, and everyone's job.
The second half of the column was devoted to problems Chung has with MIT's food service. If Chung feels so strongly about it, he (or any other undergraduate student) can join the UA Committee on Food Services. There are also committees on the Course Evaluation Guide, elections, housing and Residence/ Orientation Week, safety, educational policy and student life. All these committees still have some open seats on them and are open to any undergraduate. And if a problem is not covered by these committees an ad hoc committee can be created to deal with it.
The UA is often considered ineffective because it doesn't solve the problems on campus. But when students elect UAC members who don't care, there is no doubt the UA will seem weak.
Overcrowding seems to be a serious problem this year, yet there are only six people on the UA Housing & R/O Committee (most of whom were required to be on a committee because they are council members). I cannot believe that only six people out of 4,500 really care about overcrowding; but the actions of the students say otherwise.
Any government body, be it committee, council, or otherwise, is only as good as its members. While it is nice to see a student taking an interest in the problems of MIT, it would be nicer if he were to take action to solve them.
Mark A. Herschberg '95Chairman, UA Housing & R/O Committee