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Prometheus Group Recognized by ASA

By Adrienne E. Hunacek

Prometheus has finally been granted preliminary recognition by the Association of Student Activities, said the publication’s Editor in Chief Tess R. Diduch ’06.

The first issues of Prometheus, an MIT alternative publication with a focus on Orientation and Rush issues, ran in April and May last spring. The group has been seeking ASA recognition since late March 2003, when former Editor in Chief Scott D. Schneider ’00 submitted a request to become an independently recognized club.

Kathryn M. Walter ’05, president of the ASA executive board, said Prometheus will be granted full ASA recognition pending completion of several finalizing steps, including the completion of several forms.

ASA recognition brings funding

Schneider said Prometheus wanted full ASA recognition for many of the same reasons other student groups do: to obtain an MIT URL, Athena locker space, and a bank account.

Walter said the ASA was reluctant to grant Prometheus recognition because of concern over the growing number of campus publications, and the effect the added competition would have, particularly on smaller publications. Walter added that funding constraints are another “big issue.”

ASA wanted proof of viability

Prometheus was not recognized by the ASA in March because ASA members wanted more evidence of the publication’s feasibility, Schneider said. Also, the ASA wanted the publication to distinguish itself from The Tech, and suggested that the first issue of Prometheus could offer that proof.

After the first Prometheus issue, the ASA suggested they might be sponsored by The Tech. Both Prometheus and The Tech were opposed to this arrangement, Schneider said.

According to the ASA’s Web site, a sponsored group is a group that is “directly supported by an MIT department, program, or office of MIT, as well as existing student groups.”

Schneider and other members felt that Prometheus deserved full recognition status.

He and Diduch went back to the ASA in mid-August of this year. When Diduch contacted the ASA recently she was told that Prometheus had received independent recognition.

Walter did acknowledge it will probably be difficult for other alternative publications to gain ASA recognition in the future, for many of the same reasons it was such a long process for Prometheus.

Approximately 16 students contribute to each issue of Prometheus, but about 25 students typically attend meetings, Schneider said.

Schneider said the purpose of Prometheus is to publish “well-written and well-reasoned articles that tie student life issues in with issues of responsibility and freedom.”