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Picariello Beating Highlights MIT Hypocrisy

Picariello Beating Highlights MIT Hypocrisy

The Tech's story "CPs Arrest Convicted Bomber," [August 24] missed the point. Richard Picariello has already served his time. Rehashing his old news story does nothing to justify arresting and beating him in connection because of so-called trespassing at the Student Center.

What the story should have been about is whether or not MIT has any legal right to run a shopping mall, invite the public, and then arrest people for trespassing. While you're at it, see if you can find any statistics that prove campus policing reduces crime. You won't because there aren't any. There are only cynical university administrators manipulating fear and the politics of crime to increase their personal power.

In the Boston Yellow Pages, the Student Center is listed in an advertisement for Newbury Comics. MIT's World Wide Web site lists the Student Center under "visitor information" with a list of all the stores. So how does MIT get off letting its shopping mall invite the public and then deciding to arrest people who come?

The Student Center is either a public place or it is not. If it is not, MIT should stop its mall from advertising in public, and other customers should be forbidden. Then MIT would have the legal right to claim its rights to private property are more important than the rights of the public. (Obviously as communists or communist sympathizers, we do not agree that private property is more important than the central mission of a university, but we would recognize MIT's legal right if it did not invite the public.)

MIT's hypocritical attitude toward the public is evident. MIT takes a leading share of public taxpayer funding of everything from student loans to multi-million dollar research projects. But already three people other than Picariello have come forward to us about harassment by MIT police. One person was attending a large event that the public was invited to and handing out literature when he was stopped by MIT police. If the MIT administration does not want the public to come, then it should not invite it.

MIT's attack on Picariello and others from the public is a slap at students and faculty at MIT as well. MIT students and faculty have the right to assemble anyone they want and associate with anyone they want. At a world-class university supposedly dedicated to academic freedom and science, it should not be necessary to point this out.

The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist League