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CPW Rules Dropped Following Protests

Prefrosh No Longer Restricted to Campus

By Matthew Palmer


Prospective students descended on MIT yesterday for Campus Preview Weekend amidst controversy over new rules requiring wristbands for prefrosh and their signed agreement to stay on Institute grounds.

After meeting with residence leaders, Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones announced prefrosh would in fact be allowed to leave campus and are not required to wear their purple wristbands all day. Other college campuses are still off-limits.

The eleventh-hour changes marked a drastic departure from the CPW rules as they were issued on Wednesday.

“This was an errant judgement,” Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones said of the admissions office’s contract, which stated that prefrosh can only leave campus to visit an FSILG.

“I eliminated the contract” Thursday morning, Jones said. Students coming later in the morning were not asked to sign the agreement, and there will be no written contract next year.

The admissions office also distributed purple wristbands, which prefrosh were told to wear in order to gain admission to the many activities planned for the four-day CPW.

Associate Director of Admissions Zaragoza A. Guerra denied rumors that violators of the rules could be denied admission.

Restrictions cause student uproar

“Prefrosh are not to go off campus except to go to FSILGs,” Guerra wrote in an e-mail Wednesday. “No tours of Boston, no tours of Cambridge, no tours of Tower Records.”

IFC President Damien A. Brosnan ’01 said this interpretation of “off campus” was not what the IFC expected when FSILGs signed off on prefrosh rules in February.

Among the admission office’s rules was one asking hosts to “refrain from taking prefrosh off campus throughout the weekend.” When the IFC adopted a similar rule, they expected prefrosh to be allowed into Boston, but not onto other campuses.

Hearing of the discrepancy, Brosnan and Dormitory Council President Jennifer A. Frank ’00 met with Jones yesterday morning.

Jones called the old rules “too rigid. You can take prefrosh to dinner or a tour.”

Guerra maintains, however, that the spirit of the rules has not changed. “This is what we’ve been doing all along,” Guerra said. He called it “irresponsible” to let hundreds of prefrosh into Boston.

Brosnan said the old rules hurt both prefrosh, who want to see Boston, and FSILGs, who want to show them life outside classes.

“I promised myself to go into Boston this weekend” despite the previous rules, said prefrosh Matthew Richards.

Many FSILGs had canceled regular off-campus events because of the regulations.

Jones said the on campus rule was created in response to concerns over safety and litigation. Most parents agree with it.

“It’s a good idea, especially for girls,” said Barbara Sunter, the mother of a prefrosh.

Prefrosh are still banned from visiting other colleges during the weekend. Jones said her job was to recruit the best people for MIT, not other schools.

As for the wristbands, Jones said they don’t need to be worn all the time. She said they were needed for the party Thursday night: she had to make a decision between wristbands or metal detectors.

Guerra says they’re needed for security reasons. “We can’t have strangers walking around,” he said. “Or else, you’d have to be questioning people.”

Many prefrosh dislike the bracelets. Richards calls them “childish. I feel like a kid at the mall on a leash.”

Others didn’t mind. Prefrosh Michael Lambert said he also had to wear a wristband at a Cornell University wrestling camp “mostly for meals.”

A letter by the grass-roots protest group I Love Fucking Place urged students to cross out parts of the contract and keep the wristband in their pockets.

“So don’t worry about breaking a few rules this weekend,” the letter said. “Just ... don’t do anything stupid.”

Students, who had vehemently opposed the new rules, were generally pleased with the changes. Jeff I. Lieberman ’00 was planning a protest “Prefrosh Violation Dinner” so prefrosh could break the rules and eat in Boston.

Lieberman said the dinner is now about prefrosh meeting each other and is not a protest. “We stood up to [the admissions office] and accomplished the goals.”

Tours, talks planned for weekend

Despite the wristband scandal, CPW has gotten off to a strong start. 714 prefrosh are on campus this weekend -- 45 percent of the admitted class compared to last year’s 43 percent.

Campus Preview Weekend is held to show prefrosh “a true experience of MIT, with a range of academic and social activities.” Events planned include a dance, UROP tours, panel discussions, and residence tours.

In addition, Comparative Media Studies Professor Henry Jenkins, Professor of Psychology Steven Pinker, and Assistant Professor of Material Engineering Christine Ortiz will be lecturing today. Speaking Saturday is Associate Professor of Architecture Wellington Reiter.

Prefrosh can start to plan their next four years at academic, athletics, and activity fairs.

Festivities will conclude with a dinner Saturday, featuring keynote speaker Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow ’72.