Flyers Target SlurBy Jeremy Hylton
Editor in Chief
Six students stood in Lobby 7 at the end of the Infinite Corridor yesterday morning and handed out flyers protesting the homophobic graffiti painted on the sidewalk outside Tau Epsilon Phi by members of Lambda Chi Alpha on Nov. 12.
The flyers said, in part, "We demand that LCA, the [Interfraternity Council], and the MIT administration address publicly the homophobic contents of LCA's attack and how each respective organization intends to improve the atmosphere for lesbigay people on campus."
Yesterday afternoon LCA delivered a letter of apology to the MIT community. One section of the letter said, "The brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha recognize that the actions taken [on Nov. 12] were, at best, insensitive to many members in the MIT community. We realize that such cannot be tolerated because it tears at the fabric of our community: diversity."
Members of LCA vandalized the TEP fraternity house and painted a homophobic slur on the sidewalk outside. The LCA members were apparently retaliating for a TEP hack that involved painting over Smoots markings on the Harvard Bridge.
Kristen K. Nummerdor '94, one of the organizers of the event and political coordinator of Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals at MIT, said, "We're trying to get the administration to act and sometimes that means pushing them a little."
The handling of the incident, Nummerdor said, sends out a message that homosexuals are not very welcome in the fraternity system and at the Institute. "It makes us feel sort of alienated," she said.
The six students in Lobby 7 handed out about 2,500 flyers and hung some on bulletin boards across campus. "We got a lot of support in passing," Nummerdor said.
Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs Arthur C. Smith said that the Dean's Office is concerned about the incident and has met with both fraternities. "Certainly both the president and I are concerned," Smith said, but "I'm not going to make any broad, general statements."
Neal H. Dorow, assistant dean for fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups, said that the Dean's Office and the IFC probably would not need to take any formal action because LCA and TEP intended to settle the dispute themselves.
"I think one of [the protesters'] concerns is that they would like us to be clear about MIT's attitude about providing support for the MIT community. We do and we will," Smith said. "When it comes down to a specific instance like this, we like to deal with the specific students involve."
Nummerdor criticized the administration's support of lesbians, gays, and bisexuals as being superficial too often. "The administration will be very supportive behind closed doors, but then nothing concrete will ever be done, which leaves a lot of us feeling pretty frustrated," she said.
Smith said that much of the investigation his office would undertake would not be made public. "Whether we will take the action some people want us to remains to be seen," he said.
In a statement LCA said, "Measures are being taken to discipline the individuals involved and we intend to work with the Dean's Office at MIT to investigate and implement a sensitivity training program addressing the delicate issues mentioned above."