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LETTER

Tech Has ‘Distorted’ Public Responsibilities

I object, in the strongest possible terms, to the tone and lack of substance put forth under the headline “Librarian Held in Rape.”

I object to the grammatical, syntactical and editorial choices which so blatantly display your belief in the guilt of the suspect. One would expect the Tech’s editor-in-chief to be an experienced journalist, so poor writing can’t be blamed. And so you have placed your hack credentials above the principle of innocent until proven guilty. I’ll remember that next time I read another self-serving editorial on the essential unfairness of the legal system.

I object to the name and bio of a suspect in an obviously ongoing investigation. And I object, as a writer, to the ugly devolution of the article into an crass exegesis on the alleged scene of the alleged crime. By identifying this person, by his name and by his films and plays, and by doing it with so transparent a belief in his guilt, you have placed him in mortal danger and thus endangered the process of justice.

With the addition of lots of ink on a decidedly unrelated exposition of the nature and use of a UMass bathroom, you have grossly distorted both your responsibilities to the MIT community and the facts of the case. That a bathroom might have “scary old men” and be used for sordid activities is not even tangent to the facts of the case. Tell me, if you’re going to get into it, if a rape has ever occurred in that place before? Tell me, further, why I need to know that the accused produced an educational video about homophobia? Tell my why you think I would, or should, make an automatic connection between rape and gay men?

If this person committed this horrible crime he should be punished severely, but not by you. If he did not... are you prepared to spend as much ink on your apology as you have spent on your damnation?


Petr Swedock
Staffer, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory