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Drop Poster Advertising MITAAH Stolen from Lobby 7 Last Week

By Naveen Sunkavally
Staff Reporter

A drop poster for the MIT Atheists, Agnostics, and Humanists was stolen from Lobby 7 on the morning of Sept. 28.

The poster read, "We think there is no God. Now what? MITAAH. We welcome atheists, agnostics, humanists, and all other free-thinkers."

Sarah L. Carlson '00, president of the MITAAH, checked first with Physical Plant and the Campus Police before concluding that the poster was indeed stolen, she said. The MITAAH set up a second drop poster stating the same message after this incident.

It was clear "that someone peeled the duct tape off and took the poster with him," Carlson said. MITAAH expected this to happen because of their controversial views, but were surprised since MIT is a diverse and tolerant place, she said. There are over 90 religious and ethnic groups at MIT.

The theft was most likely the result of an isolated person and not the cause of any religious or ethnic group, she said.

"I've never heard of anyone taking the whole poster with him," she said."It will be interesting to see how long the GAMIT [Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgenders, and Friends at MIT] drop poster stays up."

The MITAAH is not the only group that has had its posters vandalized.

In the past, the Pagan Students Group has also been a target. "Occasionally posters have been removed from our bulletin board. It happens about once or twice a term; we just print more posters and put them back up," said Amy M. Smith '98, vice president of PSG.

"My guess is that the incidents are random acts by individuals. I've definitely never encountered overt anti-Pagan sentiment from any organized group on campus," Smith said.

"This seems to happen to many of the religious groups at least occasionally. I've seen posters removed from Christian bulletin boards," she said. "The only incident I've heard of where a board was specifically defaced was an incident where a nasty note was pinned onto a SWE [Society of Women Engineers] bulletin board."

Additionally, last March, a Women's Studies display near the Building 14 elevator shaft was vandalized. The case was smashed, and paper from the display was torn.

The Campus Police define a hate incident as "any act, whether consisting of conduct, speech, or expression, to which a bias is evident as a contributing factor, regardless of whether or not the act constitutes crime."

In 1996, there were four hate incidents, with two against sexual orientation and two against race and ethnic orientation, according to the Campus Police annual report. There have been no reported hate incidents during 1997, according to the Campus Police mid-year report.