Practicing What It Preaches
Despite MIT's support of "diversity awareness" during Orientation week, it seems to be fostering an atmosphere of just the opposite. MIT preaches diversity and communal activities where race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation are of no concern; however, certain functions for the class of 2002 have catered exclusively to those categories.
As freshmen - new to MIT and its surroundings - the first couple of days bear quite an influence on introducing them to classmates and lifestyles at MIT. Freshman interact and bond with each other in order to survive the first two chaotic weeks of their college experience. These initial friendships often last a lifetime. When people struggle and succeed together, they form bonds that are hard to break.
So, why is it that MIT organizes events based solely on race and gender during this period. MIT is creating environments in which "like" only meets "like." Why is it that MIT has a weekend for women and minorities? Will this unite the class to be? Does this promote a community where people can work together despite their differences?
If MIT is so concerned with not distinguishing among "types" of people, why not have a weekend where all prospective students - women, men, blacks, whites, Americans, Asians, Africans, Latinos, and Europeans - come to MIT to get a true feel for the campus and college life. It is wrong to put any group on a pedestal based solely on their ethnicity or gender. Although MIT does not necessarily foster this environment, it does promote a segregated community by organizing functions that only welcome certain groups, such as dances for minority students or dinner for international students.
It is true that the transition into life at MIT can be intimidating and difficult to adjust to, but all freshmen are human - all experience similar emotions. Why not conquer Orientation week together?
Michele E. deMarco '00