Letters to the EditorI must admit, first and foremost, that I have definite opinions about the recent charges that racial epithets were yelled from a Phi Beta Epsilon window at 3:30 in the morning on March 13. But, I know that my opinions are only a small percentage of those within the MIT community. The fact that my feelings are not wholly representative of those on this campus is the point of my letter. I was appalled recently when I read a suggestion from Joshua Powlesson `92 ["PBE Proud of Its Diverse Membership," Mar. 15] that Chocolate City should have attempted to resolve this issue with PBE. While CC is a very vital part of the African-American population as well as a very vital segment of the whole MIT community, it is not totally representative of the entire MIT student body. As soon as allegations were brought forth about this racial incident, the situation ceased to be an exclusive black-white or CC-PBE issue. It became an issue for all of MIT to deal with.
The student body has a right to know about and to deal with this problem. It is widely known, however, that President Vest's administration is the only universally acknowledged authority on this campus, and therefore has exclusive power in clearing up this matter. While President Vest has quickly indicated his desire to deal with this problem, I appeal to him to not allow this to be an issue that his administration deals with alone, because it does not affect only his administration. He as well as every part of his administration should involve all of MIT's student body and affiliates. That is why I encourage President Vest today to begin sending daily correspondences to every member of the student body stating how this issue is being dealt with. We need him as well as his administration to show us how we should deal with such serious allegations both today as well as tomorrow. I ask this because he alone stands in the "bully-pulpit" and can dictate MIT's policy. And to the student body I say: "Today we are faced with a terrible problem on this campus. Surely, as the problem solvers we so proudly praise ourselves as being, we can deal with this ordeal as carefully, expeditiously, forcefully, and sincerely as possible."
Tommie Henderson '95
Diversity Is Better Than Segregation
In light of the racial tensions that have afflicted MIT this week, I feel compelled to respond to a rather hypocritical attitude toward easing racial problems voiced by Dale LeFebvre in Tuesday's Tech ["PBE Incident Raises Questions About Racism," Mar. 16]. LeFebvre implied that racism cannot be overcome by simply placing people of different cultural backgrounds together. He argued that even at ethnically diverse living groups such as PBE, racism still exists. I do not disagree with him in this respect.
However, is it not orders of magnitude more destructive to keep ethnic groups segregated? Racism only flourishes where cultural groups have no opportunity to learn about and to share with each other. I believe LeFebvre has taken the fight against racism a giant step backwards by belittling PBE's efforts to bring about cultural sharing and understanding amongst it members.
When a particular group remains insular and segregated, there is no way that an "outsider" will ever come to understand its culture, and it is this lack of understanding that causes racism. David Duke, Martin Luther King, and Gandhi would learn a lot more by sitting together in a room and talking than they would if they remained separated and were informed only through rumors, hearsay, and stereotypes.
If the alleged incidents at PBE did occur, then I am truly appalled and disgusted. There should be no tolerance at MIT, or anywhere else in the world, for such immature and narrow-minded behavior. I believe, however, that racism could be alleviated if we all made more of an effort to interact and communicate with members of other ethnic groups, so that we would all share in the cultural diversity of the people we live with. Sticking to your own kind serves only to worsen racial tensions. And as implausible as it may seem to some, living in harmony with others and maintaining one's cultural identity are not mutually exclusive.
Ruth Lim '95
Violence Against Clinics Should Stop
The Tech received a copy of this statement released by MIT Students for Choice their rally on Monday.
We are gathered here today to memorialize David Gunn, who was shot and killed last Wednesday in Pensacola, Fla. by an anti-abortion protester. We are here to say that we are deeply saddened and disturbed by this tragedy; and we cannot express in words our sorrow and sympathy for the victim's family.
But we are also here to denounce the senseless loss of life, the unjustified violence, and to call upon those on both sides of the issue, those who call themselves both "pro-life" and "pro-choice" to condemn the increasing threat of violence which is spreading rapidly throughout the country against abortion-providers.
Since 1977 there have been 36 reported bombings, 76 arsons, 53 attempted bombings or arsons, 322 instances of clinic invasions, and 441 episodes of vandalism against abortion clinics. Eighty-two cases of assault and battery, 92 death threats, two kidnappings, and 28 burglaries have been reported.
We want to fully recognize and emphasize that the majority who call themselves "pro-life" do not condone such acts; that most recognize the tactics of harassment and fear as the antithesis of "life." We do not wish to over-generalize; rather we would like to all come together not only in our remorse, but also in expressing condemnation for the trend in increasing violence that has led to this occasion.
Emily Yeh '93
for MIT Students for Choice
Pro-Life Condemns Gunn Murder
MIT Pro-Life joins all other pro-life groups in condemning last week's murder of Dr. David Gunn, a Pensacola, Florida doctor who performed abortions. This murder was an unjustifiable and barbarous action.
The pro-life movement does not support the murder of innocent human life. Furthermore, true pro-lifers do not support any acts of violence against those who perform abortions or the places in which they are performed. Clearly, Michael Griffin's disregard for the sanctity of human life indicates that he is not pro-life, and he acted alone in this regard.
Steven G. Conahan '93
and six others for MIT Pro-Life