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Pamphlet Appeals to Parents

By Dana Levine

A group of MIT students recently published a brochure to alert parents of MIT students to some common student concerns.

The pamphlet, entitled “Parents At MIT, An Informed Perspective”, contains questions that the pamphlet’s authors “feel are appropriate for parents to ask the MIT administration and Institute representatives,” as the pamphlet states. Released last weekend, distribution of the pamphlet coincided with Family Weekend, an annual event which brings MIT parents to campus for panels, tours, and workshops with members of the MIT community, including high-level administrators.

“MIT does a better job of pretending to respect parents than it does to respect kids,” said Richard S. Tibbetts ’02, who initially proposed and formulated the organization of the brochure.

“MIT always says, our peer institutions do this, so we should too. We don’t have peer institutions,” he said.

Pamphlet states student concerns

“Parents At MIT” discusses some of the concerns of MIT students, as well as a list of things which MIT students find special and unique about their college.

The pamphlet divides concerns into four categories: Trust, Money, Mentorship, and Housing. The “Why I Love This Place” section of the brochure contains items which were suggested by members of ILTFP, an MIT student advocacy group.

“My eventual goal is to be able to come back to MIT and take my kids to Steer Roast,” Tibbetts said, naming just one of the things which he finds special about MIT.

The pamphlet also urges parents to join two mailing lists created by Christopher D. Beland ’00, which allow parents to discuss the presented issues.

“Parents don’t get much info [about MIT], maybe just one phone call or e-mail a week. These lists would allow parents to communicate with other parents, and would provide a forum for feedback to the administration,” said Beland, who also played an instrumental role in the production of the brochure.

Pamphlet from ILTFP discussion

Last Tuesday, the idea first arose of a pamphlet “to take things that students are concerned about and make parents concerned about them,” said Beland.

Tibbetts announced his ideas to the ILTFP mailing list. ILTFP members then proposed the content which eventually became the pamphlet.

The brochure was allegedly written up in final form and published by Arun A. Tharuvai ’01 and Anna K. Benefiel ’00 according to Tibbetts. Tharuvai denied involvement in the publishing aspect, but said that he indirectly contributed to some of the positive aspects of MIT listed in the brochure by posting mail messages to the ilftp mailing list, a public forum.

Benefiel said in a statement that she hopes that the pamphlet “sparks some thought and discussion in the MIT community.”

Although the producers of the pamphlet are not sure that it received adequate attention, they do hope that it will provoke thought and discussion on many fronts. Benefiel hopes that the pamphlet will provoke some sort of response by the administration at some point in the near future.

Both Tibbetts and Beland believe that most MIT students are either too lazy or too busy to protest administrative policies which they don’t agree with. “Students are unaware of the amount that they can contribute with only a little time,” Tibbetts said.