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Vandals Mar Smoot Marks, LCA House with Anti-Gay Graffiti

Chun Hua Zheng--The Tech
The sidewalk in front of the Lambda Chi Alpha house was vandalized last week.

By Zareena Hussain
News Editor

On Friday Morning, brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha were shocked to find the Smoot markings on Harvard bridge had been vandalized.

The Smoot markings, a well-known piece of MIT history, date back to a LCA prank from 1958. The markings, which identify the length of the bridge as "364.4 Smoots + 1 ear," are still maintained by LCA.

Friday morning, the markings were marred by graffiti saying "LCGAY." In addition, "Halfway to Hell" was changed to "Halfway to Queersville," said Duane Dreger '99, president of the Interfraternity Council.

Fraternity house also vandalized

LCA President Andrew Bankert '99 said that the house was also vandalized. Someone painted "LCGAY" in purple paint "at the front of the house on the concrete, right on the sidewalk in front of Bay State" Road, he said.

The vandalism was "cowardly, senseless, and very homophobic in nature," Bankert said. "The fraternity is very displeased with the incident."

Before LCA brothers could remove the vandalism on the bridge themselves, most of the paint was cleaned up by the Metropolitan District Commission, Bankert said.

MDC Spokesman Sam Campbell said that the MDC would try to remove the final traces of the graffiti over the course of the next few days. "We are aware of it and very interested in getting it off," he said.

Bankert said that the markings on the house had also been erased. "We painted over the markings on the house with gray paint, so it's pretty much gone now."

No legal action taken so far

No complaints have yet been filed with Massachusetts, Boston, or MIT police, according to representatives of those police departments.

Bankert said that LCA had not called the police.

As of yet "no one has brought any charge," Dreger said. however, the IFC Judicial Committee is investigating several leads, Dreger said.

Because of the homophobic nature of the vandalism, if Judcom does find a culprit they will likely prosecute, Dreger said.

"As far as I know they don't have any hard proof at the moment," he said.

If an IFCmember is found guilty of the vandalism, the punishment will likely take the form of a public apology to LCA and the IFC, as well as a community service sanction, Dreger said.

LCA is unlikely to bring charges of its own, instead letting the IFC prosecute the vandals, Bankert said.

"Its is an act of violence against Smoots," as opposed to an act of violence against the fraternity, Bankert said.

"As far as sanctions go, LCAwill support any decision made by the IFC," he said.

"Whoever committed this vandalism - and it is vandalism - certainly lacked any semblance of intelligent thought, and if the best they can do is make a joke about how someone sucks nuts', then they obviously have the maturity of a third grader," Bankert said.

The Smoot markings on the Harvard bridge began as a fraternity prank when members of LCA took freshman pledge Oliver R. Smoot '62 and measured the Harvard Bridge in units of his height, by laying him out across the bridge.

Douglas E. Heimburger and Dan McGuire contributed to the reporting of this story.