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GAMIT Posters Vandalized; Classified as 'Hate Crime'

By Stacey E. Blau
News Editor

Several Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgenders, and Friends at MIT posters were vandalized early yesterday morning in Lobby 7, Chief of Police Anne P. Glavin said.

"Both the GAMIT drop poster and pillar comment sheets were torn down," said Kristen K. Nummerdor '94, former GAMIT general coordinator. Half of the drop poster was missing, and the other half had the epithets "All faggots must die" and "Kill all faggots" written on them, she said.

Associate Dean for Residence and Campus Activities Margaret A. Jablonski discovered the vandalism just before 8 a.m. yesterday morning and reported it to the Campus Police, Jablonski said.

The vandalism has been classified as a hate crime, Glavin said. "It's pretty clear from the message that there's a bias motive," she said.

TheCampus Police did not recover the missing half of the drop poster.

Posters up for Coming Out Week

"The pillar comment sheet was put up to get comments about why it is good or not good to come out at MIT," as part of a celebration of National Coming Out Week, Nummerdor said.

"GAMIT drop posters and regular posters get ripped down and vandalized pretty much every time we have an event," Nummerdor said. "I'm not surprised, but I am always angered when incidents like this happen," she said.

GAMIT painted a new poster this afternoon and put up new pillar comment sheets as well, Nummerdor said.

GAMIT vandalism increases

Vandalism against GAMIT "is a growing problem," Glavin said. Incidents appear to be increasing over the past few years, she said.

"Since I first got here in the fall of 1989, I can't remember a year that has gone by without at least 2 or 3 drop posters going down," Nummerdor said. Vandalism against GAMIT occurs even more frequently during Coming Out Week and Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Awareness Days.

"What really bothers me about these incidents is how common they are, and how little people on this campus seem to care," Nummerdor said.

"The atmosphere here at MIT is one of incredible apathy with occasional pepperings of out and out hatred. I am tired of people thinking incidents like this don't hurt people. Having someone write kill all faggots' on your poster knocks the wind out of you," she said.

Vandalism is outrageous'

"I think it's absolutely outrageous," said Professor Lawrence S. Bacow, chair of the faculty.

"It's very, very frustrating when people don't treat each other civilly," he said. Hate crimes "are fundamentally anti-intellectual and have no place anywhere, especially at a place like MIT."

"I would not say this is an intolerant campus," but "people have to learn to recognize not everyone is like them," Bacow said.

"I am pretty disgusted, both by the acts themselves and by the apathy shown to queer concerns," Nummerdor said. "I am simply disgusted," she said.

The Campus Police are proceeding with an investigation of the incident. There are presently no suspects.

Daniel C. Stevenson contributed to the reporting of this story.