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R/O Week News in Review

The Tech focused on the events and activities of Residence and Orientation Week from Aug. 25 to Sept. 2. Several stories, however, dealt with issues of importance to the community at large. Those stories are reprinted here, in abbreviated form, for the benefit of community members who returned after R/O Week.

Picture Book Cover Stirs Controversy

At the last minute, President Charles M. Vest asked the Technology Community Association to stop distribution of its Freshman Picture Book because he felt its cover drawing of a monkey could be perceived as racist by African Americans. Publishing the books with new covers delayed their delivery until Aug. 30.

The original cover shows a monkey wearing glasses, dressed in a cap and a lab coat with a pocket protector, and holding a calculator. The monkey has one arm raised and is asking a question: "What does intuitively obvious' mean?!"

"The concern about the picture was that the symbolism of a monkey type of creature has traditionally been used negatively in a racist manner in the United States to depict African Americans," said Susan D. Allen, assistant dean for residence and campus activities.

The TCA, a student-run and funded nonprofit organization, produces the Freshman Picture Books. Risa H. Wechsler '96, who helped to design the cover for TCA, said that there was no particular reason why the monkey was chosen.

President Vest stopped the distribution of the picture books with the original cover because the cover "could be misinterpreted as racially derogatory."

"Experiences on many campuses, including ours, clearly indicate such events have caused substantial anguish within the student body and community, despite the fact that no ill will was intended," Vest said.

Record Rush For Living Groups

A record number of freshmen accepted bids from fraternities and coed living groups this year, with 401 freshmen pledging by 2 p.m. on Sept. 1. The previous record was set last year when 380 freshmen pledged independent living groups, according to Clearinghouse Committee Chair Daniel J. Dunn '95.

"The weather cooperated, and people worked harder. I think overall it was an outstanding rush, but there's always going to be a couple of disappointed houses," said Neal H. Dorow, assistant dean and adviser to fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups.

Many ILGs met or exceeded their targets by Sept. 1: Alpha Delta Phi, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Alpha Tau Omega, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Delta Tau Delta, Delta Upsilon, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Beta Epsilon, Phi Sigma Kappa, Pika, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Women's Independent Living Group, Zeta Beta Tau, and Zeta Psi.

The new Clearinghouse software helped keep track of freshmen, because the houses could input information using MITnet instead of calling it in over the phone, Dorow said. "It made rush less stressful for many rush chairs." he said.

The improved Clearinghouse system also brought more violations to light, said Dunn, who is also chair of the IFC judicial committee. "Clearinghouse enabled us to keep closer track of trip lengths. A lot of charges won't be pressed, even though now we know about all of them. We'll only press the ones where people" were angry, he said

Clay Appointed Associate Provost

Professor Phillip L. Clay PhD '75, head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, has been appointed associate provost effective Oct. 1. Clay will fill the position vacated by Sheila E. Widnall '60, who was sworn in as Secretary of the Air Force last August.

Announcing the appointment, Provost Mark S. Wrighton said that Clay will have responsibilities in promotion and tenure policies, academic integrity, faculty recruitment and retirement, and international education programs, according to an article in Tech Talk.

"First and foremost, this position requires someone who has significant experience as a faculty member," said President Charles M. Vest. Clay will be a "key link between the senior administration and the faculty," Vest said.

The new associate provost will also represent the provost on the Faculty Policy Committee and deal with issues of tenure policy and academic integrity, Vest said.

In June, Wrighton said that he and Vest were discussing the appointment of an associate provost with wide-ranging responsibilities to fill the positions vacated by Widnall and former Associate Provost for Institute Life Samuel J. Keyser.

More Women In Class of '98

Forty percent of this year's freshman class is female. It is the largest number of women ever admitted to MIT, according to Assistant Director of Admissions Zaragoza A. Guerra III.

The Admissions Office attributes this increase to a number of factors, including a new viewbook that focuses more on student life, a two-step application process, and a special letter sent to 1,200 prospective women applicants who scored well on the Scholastic Aptitude Test. These changes were made last fall when the Class of 1998 was applying to college.

Two other factors resulting in more women coming to MIT were higher attendance at the Campus Preview Weekend in April and an admissions video that has been out for about two years, Guerra said. There were about 50 to 75 more students than usual at the Campus Preview this past spring.

In the new viewbook that is mailed along with the application for admission, the Admissions Office attempted to "confront head-on a lot of the stereotypes" that prospective students had of MIT, Guerra said. It focuses more on student life and answering concerns that applicants might have about MIT, Guerra said.

Dates Set In LaMacchia Case

Dates for a trial and for pre-trial motions were set for David M. LaMacchia '95 in the U.S. District Court in Boston on Aug. 29, according to U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Joyce Allen. LaMacchia was indicted on a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on April 7.

Prosecutors charge that LaMacchia used two workstations in the Student Center Athena cluster to "permit and facilitate, on an international scale, the illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted software," according to the indictment.

Using a server running on the two workstations, Internet users could exchange copyrighted software, like Microsoft Excel and Wordperfect.

The trial date was set for Nov. 28 at 9 a.m.

At the conference, a timetable was also set for considering motions by LaMacchia's defense to dismiss the case. Motions from the defense are due Sept. 30.

Prosecutors will have two weeks to respond to the defense motions, and the defense will have another week for a final response. Oral arguments on the motions will be heard in a public court session on Oct. 28, Allen said.

Food Services Undergo Changes

Changes to Lobdell Food Court, Pritchett Lounge, and Networks top a list of many improvements that MIT Food Services is preparing for the upcoming semester, according to Food Services Director Robert A. McBurney.

"We have two goals this year: increasing revenue through new operations and improved customer relations," McBurney said. As a result, Lobdell is undergoing several changes including the addition of D'Angelos Sandwich Shop and three more cash registers.

Lobdell will also offer Mediterranean Trade Winds, which will be serving Middle Eastern foods like falafels and hommous.

Pritchett is being completely redesigned to incorporate a 1950s motif and will be open for late night service during the weekdays. Pritchett will extend its hours to include weekend afternoons and evenings, McBurney said.

In order to cover more of the campus, two new food service locations will be open in the upcoming semester. The Biology Cafe will open in Building 68 and will have a similar selection to the Building 4 Coffee Shop, McBurney said.

The Refresher Course, a deli-style cafe in the Sloan Building (E52), will be supplemented by Refresher II, which will serve ready-made sandwiches on the third floor of Building E51.

Housing Lottery Goes to 2nd Round

Final results from this year's housing lottery show crowding levels that are both lower than expected for this year and lower than they were last year, according to Andrew M. Eisenmann '70, associate dean for residence and campus activities.

As of Sept. 2, the housing system was approximately 140 students over capacity, compared with 195 students at this time last year, Eisenmann said. Historically, the crowding numbers are "trending in the right direction," Eisenmann said, but the numbers are still larger than the RCA would prefer.

The new Alpha Chi Omega house and the annex to McCormick Hall took care of about 50 extra students, Eisenmann said.

Fifty-five new students were assigned to Senior House, compared to 47 last year. Senior House, which had in the past been a low housing choice for many students, was renovated over the summer, Eisenmann said. "My hope and my expectation is that it has been made more attractive to any student," he said.

Because of the lower level of crowding, no lounges in MacGregor House were converted into doubles and no Baker House triples were converted into quints, as in previous years, Eisenmann said.

The lottery, which was held using the Athena Computing Environment for the first time, seems to have alleviated problems that came up last year, Eisenmann said. Last year's freshmen had to wait in long lines to receive their dormitoryassignments. Also, about 100 students had to wait for a second lottery, and 55 had to wait again for a third lottery last August.

Keyser No Longer Associate Provost

Professor of Linguistics Samuel Jay Keyser stepped down as associate provost for institute life on June 30 after holding this position for nine years. Keyser worked extensively with harassment policies, conflict resolution, and faculty and student relations.

Keyser was initially appointed associate provost for educational policies and programs in 1985. His title changed following President Charles M. Vest's inauguration in 1992, "when I became more concerned with issues having to do with quality of life and conflict resolution," Keyser said.

Keyser will return to being a professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, and will continue holding the Peter DeFlorez '38 Fund for Humor Professorship, which was created to encourage humor in the learning process. He will teach a graduate linguistics course in the spring.

"I worried about those parts of the Institute that came into conflict with one another," Keyser said of his job. To that end, he played a large part in the production of the "Dealing with Harassment at MIT" guide and organized training sessions for harassment complaint handlers.

While associate provost, Keyser instituted what he calls "random faculty dinners" eight years ago. Each month, he invites about 40 randomly chosen faculty members to a dinner in the Grier Room in Building 34.

Keyser also worked to reinstitute the convocation given by the president to the freshman class during Residence and Orientation Week. While this and other achievements are not widely publicized, Keyser said that "there is no end to the good you can do provided you are willing not to take credit for it."

LSC Installs New Sound System

Patrons of Lecture Series Committee films will be treated to crisper, more realistic sound due to a major upgrade to the 26-100 sound system, according to Daniel J. Jablonski '96, chair for the LSC Booth Improvement Fund Committee.

The speaker upgrades and the new capability to process Dolby Stereo Surround and Spectral Recording will allow moviegoers to experience a wider range of frequencies than possible with the previous sound system.

"The major change will be that the sound will be much more balanced over the entire room," said Scott D. Centurino G, former chairman of LSC. "Pretty much anywhere in the room you will hear the sound in stereo. This will help a lot of the "fringe" seats as well as make the middle seats a lot better."

The old speakers in 26-100 were upgraded to Bose 502A speakers, and Bose Acoustic Wave Cannons replaced the old subwoofers, which are speakers designed to put out low frequencies. A new sound processor that supports Spectral Recording and stereo surround sound was also installed.

R/O Heads Deal With Budget Cuts

Budget cuts in the Undergraduate Academic Affairs Office resulted in cutbacks to Residence and Orientation Week activities, according to UAA Staff Assistant for Student Programs Ida G. Faber.

Picnics, and other events where food was served, were cancelled this year to save money for more worthwhile activities, Faber said. But efforts were taken to maintain a level of excellence comparable to R/O Week last year.

"We were faced with this challenge to provide an R/O that was as successful as last year, if not more so" while saving money, Faber said. "What we tried to do was not to cut the events but to cut the inconsequential things, namely food."

As a result, events like the "Food, Frosh, and Fun" picnic in the barbecue pits and the "Academic Breakfast" outside Kresge Auditorium were cancelled, according to R/O week Logistics Manager Jonathan A. Allen '96.

The "Freshmen Adviser/Meetings" event was changed from a freshman lunch to individual meetings between advisers and their group. Overall, cutbacks have saved the R/O Committee a little over $20,000, Allen said.