Vest Administration Failed to Handle PBE Incident ResponsiblyFirst of all, I would like to make it clear that this letter is not directed towards the gay, lesbian, and bisexual community. However, I am totally displeased with the way that the Vest administration has handled two events -- specifically the Phi Beta Epsilon incident and the Tau Epsilon Phi incident. An overview of both situations yields that there is a disparity in the way in which the Vest administration handled these incidents.
On March 14, Tommie Henderson '95 met with President Vest regarding the PBE incident. One of his requests for resolving the incident was for Vest to write a letter to all students outlining the administration's policy on racial harassment. The administration declined to do that. However, less than two weeks after the TEP incident, President Vest sent out a letter to every MIT student giving his view of this incident.
But this is just the beginning of Vest's disparaging policies. Although Vest states in his letter that "disciplinary processes need to be private," any outsider can see that the administration is responding to the TEP incident more aggressively than it responded to the PBE incident. The Vest administration has continually been slothful in its response to the PBE incident.
I am sure that the MIT community wants to put the PBE incident behind it. I am not trying to rekindle this issue because I am totally unsatisfied with the way that the Vest administration handled this affair. The issue to be dealt with is respect. If the Institute is to move closer to its goal of diversity it must first be consistent in its policies towards all ethnic groups. It is disrespectful to have disparity in the policies that govern the MIT community. It is only a matter of time until the African-American community will no longer tolerate being disrespected at MIT.
Mark I. Randall '94