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Letters to the Editor

The current system of enrollment for Humanities Arts and Social Sciences Distribution subjects and "bumping" simply must be changed. I refuse to accept it as "just another aspect of MIT life," as some of my friends have told me.

The scene is all-too-familiar: you walk into a small room with about 20 to 25 desks and stare at the 40 other people in the room. The professor shows up, wearing a sad smile, and informs everyone that he is really truly sorry -- honest -- but the mysterious "they" at the HASS office make the rules, and he has no choice but to hold a lottery. Depending on the whims of the professor, maybe seniors, maybe juniors, maybe those who are registered, maybe nobody, are exempt from the lottery. All others must brace themselves for the disappointment which accompanies the, "I'm really sorry, once again, but those of you whose names have not been called will have to leave now."

As of now, I am two for four in lotteries. I have just seen seniors in their last term who need a particular class to finish their concentration put their names in the hat. I know people who don't really "need" a particular class win out (and maybe halfway through the term drop out) over people minoring or majoring in that field. Personally, I am now forced to rig up a schedule on Tuesday, after already juggling conflicts since registration day. I don't have a prayer of getting into some of the other interesting classes I looked at, because they've already had their lotteries.

Now maybe I should have signed up for 90 units so I could then pick and choose my courses later. Maybe I should have followed my professor's advice and gone to plead for mercy at the HASS office. Maybe I could have put my name in twice, or lied and said I was a senior (the mysterious "they" never check, I hear), or tried some sort of shenanigan with "the system" to weasel my way into some decent classes. My point is, these little games with the enrollment system should be addressed and improved. It's a public issue that no one seems to care about. Why can't lotteries be done on the day after registration day for all classes, to avoid the "it's-Tuesday-and-I-don't-have-a-class-anymore" situation? Why can't enrollment be based more on who needs the course and not solely on who was bumped last year? Why do people keep saying, "It's not my fault, talk to `them'?" Is it so hard to change the system? The current method of enrollment in HASS-D courses is begging for improvement.

Jeff Foley '94

Anti-Semitic Thistle Deserves Contempt

I've been hoodwinked. I've been made a fool of, and I'm angry.

The Thistle several months ago, asked me to participate in a story on Jewish claims that its newspaper is tainted with anti-Semitism. I gladly accepted. When it turned out that the story was limited to an interview with me, I was disappointed, but I thought it was, nonetheless, fairly done. The next issue featured a rebuttal by Thistle staffers, explaining my errors. I was set up.

A few days ago, I was called by another Thistle staffer to discuss the Israeli deportations of 400 Palestinians associated with Hamas. Now I was a bit wary, but I decided to cooperate and speak my heart. As the latest issue of The Thistle shows, I was evidently not sufficiently biased to be included in the story.

I am not speaking about the content of the argument. As a matter of fact, I agree that the expulsions were stupid and illegal. I am speaking about the use of a newspaper to promote a one-sided diatribe against the Jewish state. Historical background? Irrelevant! Terrorism against innocent Israelis? Not important, or perhaps even deserved. The use of deportation by other states in the region? None of our business.

And I no longer believe for a moment the protestation that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. Whether that be true or not, it is plain that anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism. How is it possible to write an article about Nazi hate crimes, in the same issue of The Thistle, and not to mention Jewish victims, thought several others are indeed mentioned? Why is there a huge swastika on the front page, without acknowledging what this symbol means, and has meant, to Jewish and gentile members of our community? Why does an article about Israel's refuseniks take the shape of Jewish star, a symbol that has more religious significance than national? And why is a story about a Holocaust-revisionist Ernst Zundel, titled "We're not Sorry!", written so enigmatically that we are lead to believe that the editor endorses his vindication?

No, there is no more room for doubt or deception. I charge that The Thistle is the product of unrepentant anti-Semites, and I urge the members of the MIT community to give it the contempt it deserves.

Rabbi Dan Shevitz