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ASA Missed the Point

I picked up Tuesday’s issue of The Tech, and was disgusted to hear that the ASA had revoked office space from the leading student newspaper on the MIT campus [“ASA to Redistribute Part of Tech’s Office For Rule Violations”]. The ASA sounds very self-important in its ruling against The Tech. The president of the ASA was quoted in Tuesday’s article as saying, “Most groups follow the rush rules, but not The Tech.” The publishing of gag jokes in The Daily Confusion under the name Theta Epsilon Chi, TEC, is perfectly acceptable on the grounds that without The Tech, there would be no Daily Confusion for freshmen to sort out all the rush activities.

On the second “offense,” the running of happy ads promoting the newspaper and encouraging people to join should not be punished, because the agreement between the ASA and The Tech, according to Tuesday’s article, was obviously unclear. There was a warning e-mail received on Friday night after the Saturday issue of The Tech had gone to press. Working on an award-winning student publication myself for three years, as well as holding the position of co-Editor-in-Chief during my senior year, I find it fundamentally wrong for Anant K. Saraswat ’02 of the ASA Executive Committee to suggest that, “The Tech could probably have filled the space with something other than, ‘Join The Tech.’” Publication deadlines are obviously something Saraswat has never had to deal with, nor ever will with the ASA’s obvious bias against The Tech.

Tuesday’s article pointed out violations in other student publications, and Alvar Saenz-Otero G, President of the ASA, said that the ASA would look into those potential violations. There are few groups on campus that collectively work as hard or are as involved as The Tech. Some of these groups are other student publications, which are often just as overworked as Tech staff members. The ASA’s decision in a midnight meeting, to which The Tech was not invited, to take away office space will not do anything to balance any sort of recruitment edge The Tech might have gained by placing gags in The Daily Confusion, except for possibly weakening one of the largest student groups on campus. The ASA does not interfere with the inner workings of other groups, nor does it have any business punishing The Tech for what amounts to some practical jokes and filling space due to publication deadlines.

Peter Augenbergs ’05