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LETTER

‘Conspiracy’ Idea Laughable

Matt Craighead’s column of Tuesday, May 14 [“The MURJ-United Trauma Relief Connection”] poses the existence of a political conspiracy within the MIT Undergraduate Research Journal. Such a conclusion is laughable to those of us within MURJ, and to most of the undergraduate audience who are familiar with both our journal’s standards and with Mr. Craighead’s own “initiatives.”

MURJ is an interdisciplinary journal, yet Craighead fails to recognize that social science research is as valid as “hard science” research for publication in an undergraduate journal, and that the constitution of MURJ declares that the journal’s purpose includes “acting as a forum for undergraduates who wish to discuss social policy issues.” This naturally includes pieces that are viable for a foreign policy journal.

All MURJ editors refrain from deciding upon pieces of writing that are written by students known to them. All submissions to MURJ are given to professors at MIT, who rank the pieces to determine which essays are included in MURJ.

It is clear that the same students who are active on many campus groups are also active in submitting to MURJ, reflective of the tendency at MIT to have small numbers of students who engage in a vast number of extracurricular activities. It is sad, however, that few students take the time to spend a semester actively engaging in library or field research, then writing a several-thousand-word essay to submit to MURJ. Too many would prefer to depart from research and simply pontificate rhetoric from their dorm rooms, as Craighead seems to do. His charges on ethics are laughable, as he himself has assisted in the creation of a “political awareness” group on campus, which uses its name to promote the beliefs of its only members -- members of MIT’s Objectivist society and Republican club.

Craighead’s is clearly a politically-motivated response to research that he would prefer were not read.


Sanjay Basu ’02
MURJ