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Letters to the Editor

The recent editorial ["It's Time to Get Serious About Safety,'' Nov. 20] addresses a security issue of vital importance to all MIT students and faculty. What the article does not take into account, however, is that recent crimes have not occurred within the MIT buildings themselves. Perhaps the large expenditures proposed for a card-lock system would be better utilized in providing for better lighting of dim campus areas, expansion of the Safe Ride system, or installation of readily accessible campus emergency phones. While the article proposed a viable solution, it is for a problem we do not yet have. MIT should concentrate upon dealing with present problems first, then perhaps turn its attention to future security concerns after we have mitigated, if not resolved, our current crime woes.

Also, we all owe the campus police our hearty thanks and gratitude for their efficient, rapid handling of the bomb-threat crisis on Nov. 19. The buildings were evacuated quickly and efficiently, and hall routes were sealed off as well. Though the threat turned out to be a hoax, the campus police proved their ability to mobilize in a crisis situation which critics of our campus police should note, despite the fact that Dunkin' Donuts was not in the prospective blast zone.

Scott T. Miller `96

Input Wanted to Start Baker Foundation's Institute Sign Project

We were very glad to see Michael K. Chung's column ["A Wish List Of Ideas for Changes On Campus," Nov. 6]. Surely every student who has tried to get around campus has been frustrated by MIT's building numbering system, Imagine that you are a freshman visiting MIT for the first time. You're trying to find E17 using the map on the back of your UROP directory. You don't realize that your destination is not on the map, since the map is too small to include any of the East buildings. You see "E" and "20" up near the top, so you go to the 20E thinking, maybe E17 is in the neighborhood. Nobody seems to know where E17 is, except for one guy who says it's somewhere east of Ames Street. But you don't know where Ames Street is (it's not labeled on the map), and since it's cloudy you don't know where east is. So you start wandering toward the Infinite Corridor...

Last year, we at the Baker Foundation thought it would be a nice idea to have some directional signs and maps put up around campus. We talked to the Planning Office, who said that they had been considering this project for a number of years, but that it had been stalled by circumstances, such as contracting, unions, etc. They estimated the job would require about $50,000 (a rather remarkable sum considering, as Chung points out, how effective those paper signs are during LSATs and GMATs). Also, it has been argued that the lack of directions around campus was a blessing in disguise, since it makes the campus less accommodating to unwanted trespassers.

We do not believe that making 26-100 or Kresge easier to find would make MIT a more dangerous place; on the contrary, visitors might be safer if they didn't get lost and go stumbling through deserted corners and corridors. At the very least there should be signs in major corridors pointing out that all even numbered buildings are straight ahead, building 11 is to the left, and building 3 to the right, etc. It would also be useful to provide more prominent signs to direct newcomers to the Information Office in Lobby 7.

Wynn H. Kao `93


Everett Moore Baker Memorial Foundation