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The Ombudsman Nominal closure on rape account

John A. Hawkinson

Searching for verification

The Editor’s Note on page 4 makes clear the unfortunately ambiguous result of The Tech’s investigation of the anonymous rape account published on Feb. 24. I am convinced it is the result of sufficiently diligent work.

I’d intended to provide information about the ongoing investigation and who was involved, but I agreed to hold off for a few weeks because of an internal discussion about my role at the paper. (As of April 2, it was Senior Editor Keith Winstein’s “top priority” to “either verify it or retract it.”) Several readers have written in inquiring.

One reader wrote to me regarding my Feb. 24 column, saying she felt my concerns about anonymity were “not important enough to be made at the expense of this woman,” and that she was sickened by my “insensitive words.” To the extent that anyone felt my comments were insensitive, I apologize. I do stand behind my central point: the piece is harmful if (and only if) it is a misrepresentation.

Editorial board turns it around

I was very pleased with the caliber of last week Friday’s editorial, “Bush and Sound Science.” In the past, I’ve often complained about the work of The Tech’s editorial board, but here they’ve managed to come through with flying colors.

Tuesday’s editorial was well-written with a clear thesis. It deftly painted a picture of the issue and explained its own position with sufficient context.

Unlike many editorials, it managed to bridge the gap between real issues around our nation and local issues here at MIT. All too often, editorials seem to lack relevance, or stand little chance of effecting real change by requiring actions far beyond the influence of those who read The Tech.

I’m also happy that the authors appear to have done actual research, both quoting from the Union of Concerned Scientists’ report as well as attempting to reach President Vest for his comments. It’s unfortunate when editorials give the appearance that they’ve been written by someone off the top of their head 30 minutes before a deadline, and then watered down by committee until everyone can agree.

It’s too bad the editorial board wasn’t able to reach Vest. Hopefully they will follow up and find a way to let the readership know what Vest’s explanation is, even if it turns out to be unglamorous.

Good job, guys! Keep up the good work.

Where’s that presidential search?

Speaking of Vest, what’s the status of the Institute’s search for a new president? According to Tech Talk, there’s a “working list of candidates” [“Presidential search narrows,” March 31]. I’m really dissapointed The Tech hasn’t been able to track down and report on that list (admittedly it’s a very hard job; in fairness, they’ve written three articles about the presidential search).

My column on March 2 noted The New York Times disclosed John S. Reed ’61 was on the list, and my column from Jan. 6 suggested Mark S. Wrighton as well.

As I see it, the news department they should have been on the case and talking to the various committee members as soon as the committee was announced in Dec. and Jan. This is one of the more important medium-to-long-term stories that The Tech should be covering!

Also, what about student input in the search process? The Student Advisory Group to the Corporation Committee on the Presidency presented a report on to the Corporations Search committee on March 18th: president/SAG-CCOP_Public_Report.pdf. A news story about it would have been nice.

The Tech’s Ombudsman welcomes your feedback, to His opinions are his own.