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Women's Petition Was Out of Bounds

While it is true that all females who live in an urban environment such as Cambridge are concerned with safety, I do not think that a recent letter ["Women Graduate Students Highlight Safety Concerns, Feb. 7] addressed to Chairman of the Corporation Paul E. Gray '54 and President Charles M. Vest accurately portrays the opinions of the majority of women graduate students on campus. Parts of the letter were inflammatory and unreasonable, while other parts were simply inaccurate. I am disappointed to see that the letter made it as far as The Tech's editorial page and the desks of two Institute executives.

The letter's opening thoughts relate a list of violent crimes which may be perpetrated against women if they move to a dorm at the intersection of Sidney and Pacific. The authors then place the blame for any crimes which have yet to occur on the shoulders of Chairman Gray and President Vest. First, these two men are not responsible unless they commit such acts. Second, adults should be capable of assuming the responsibility of getting themselves home safely. Common sense dictates not walking alone at night, on or off campus. MIT provides reasonable assistance to those who find themselves working late, but should not and cannot be expected to protect every student during each minute of every day.

According to the letter, the fear of crime deters students, especially women, from moving to Cambridge. Yet last year, there were over 1,200 female graduate students enrolled at MIT. This year the graduate housing office provided on-campus accommodations to only about 300 of those women. Assuming roughly constant enrollment, most of the remaining 900 probably live close by. These women must believe that they can take reasonable care of themselves.

Finally, I must point out a glaring inaccuracy. The authors maintain that, "for a wide majority of women safety is the number one priority for their living environment." Why then, out of over 300 women graduate students residing on campus, did only 69 (22 percent) of their signatures appear on the letter? It appears that the wide majority is in fact a thin minority. Perhaps the wide majority is more concerned with finding convenient accommodations knowing that with a few simple precautions they can safely arrive home at night without an Institute executive holding their hand.

Brenda D. Carpenter G