The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 63.0°F | A Few Clouds

Arsonists and Thieves Destroy Sense of MIT Community

Arsonists and Theives Destroy Sense of MIT Community

Recent events have brought up a lot of questions in my mind. MIT is a really nice place to study. In fact, its a really great place to study. Even though I don't always like my homework, I love it here at MIT. Maybe I don't get along with everyone, but I have met some of the most interesting people I know here, and with some of them I am really close. MIT is a very interesting community in which to live, grow, and learn. The computing environment here is like no other. Face it, the Athena environment for some of us is a big part of life here. The Internet is at our fingertips, just waiting to be explored. The labs at MIT allow us to do real research - in effect, giving us a chance to take a real hand in advancing technologies that the rest of the world may not even hear about for years. That's what I love about MIT.

What is troubling is some of the problems on campus that just keep cropping up, and I can't seem to understand why people would want to ruin such a great environment as MIT. One thing that has kept on bothering me while I am here is the crime. I have seen lots of hacks around campus, from computers in bathrooms to police cruisers that end up on top of buildings. But one thing I do know about Jack Florey, is that Jack does not steal anything. Or at least Jack is not supposed to steal anything. And as far as I know, he does a pretty good job. But somehow, there still seems to be a lot of people who don't seem to have such ethics. You would think that in a community of people with higher SAT scores that we would have perhaps less crime. In terms of number of crimes, there isn't a great deal of crime on campus. In my home town (38,000 people) there are more crimes daily than there are here. But in Butte, Mont., crime consists mostly of drunk drivers and speeders getting pulled in, and the occasional rock that somehow finds its way through someone's window. I can't really say why, but that happens a lot in Butte.

Here, however, crime is a bit more serious. Bikes are stolen several times a week. Computers are stolen once every month or two. There is always lots of suspicious activity going on. Parties are always too loud and cause lots of complaints. This week alone, the total amount in reported crime is $18,028. Can someone please tell me how the MIT community can stand this kind of crime going on campus? I realize that this is Boston, and that I should expect people from all around to be responsible. But there is just too much crime for me to believe that no students are involved. I am not accusing anyone here, but it seems too far fetched for us to just blame all this terrible crime on the Cambridge community.

The main problem with this crime is that it hurts everyone, because MIT (and everyone else who is a victim of crime) unfortunately has to replace things that get stolen, repair things that get damaged, and live in an environment that is no longer safe. For MIT, this means raising tuition. I don't know about you, but my tuition is already too high, and I don't like it increasing like it is. Unfortunately, if things like this keep continuing, our tuition will just go up and up to cover costs of replacement and repair.

Even worse now is the arson attempts that have been made recently in Burton House and MacGregor House. Damaging or stealing property is one thing, but endangering the lives of others just for attention is not only foolish, it's pointless. Maybe they were accidents, but I think that five such occurrences in Burton is far too many for me to call them all "accidents." Whoever is responsible just does not belong here at MIT, and I didn't come here to have to deal with other people trying to burn down dormitories and stealing things. It really depresses me that we live in such a great community at MIT, where we get access to the Internet, free medical care, somewhat decent housing, and great labs and research leaders, and all some people can do is just ruin it for us all. I hope all those who are involved will consider this and for all our sakes try to be more considerate of everyone at MIT.

Jeffrey Poore '97