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Letters to the Editor

CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE: A letter to the editor on Tuesday incorrectly gave the class year of the author. He is Jerrad D. Pierce ’05.

Stewart Fails As 
Community Steward

As reported in The Tech [“Added Costs Aim to Build Community Dining,” Nov. 18], McCormick Hall recently instituted a new “no take-out” policy in their dining hall and is no longer providing styrofoam containers for people to take out food. The policy was started by McCormick Housemaster Professor Charles H. Stewart III, who apparently ventured into the dining hall one evening and noticed it was empty. In an effort to build “community,” Stewart decided to force people to eat in the dining hall — even though students already take food up to their lounges and eat while socializing with friends.

We decided to go check out the situation at McCormick Sunday, Nov. 20. Upon entering the dining hall, we noticed only four people eating there, in contrast to the usual 20 to 30. There was also someone in charge walking around and (very imposingly) encouraging students to sit at a “Meet New People” table, which came complete with little “conversation starter” cards. One of them said “What’s your favorite place to eat off campus?” on one side and “What would you have majored in if you had to pick a HASS degree?” on the other. The second question is possibly the most insulting question we’ve ever seen posed by anyone at MIT.

As we quickly left, we noticed a student transferring food into a plastic container.

Are McCormick residents really benefiting from this policy? Judging from our observations and correspondence with some McCormick residents, we think they would much rather form their own communities upstairs and perhaps eat while watching TV or studying with friends. Stewart’s plan is backfiring miserably. The “community” he’s trying to build is definitely not at McCormick Dining.

Chieu V. Nguyen ’08, Edwin Chen ’09


A few thoughts concerning Aditya Kohli’s “Played Out” [The Tech, Nov. 22, 2005]. That arcade is a new installation, and “temporary.” It was put it in after a few years of emptiness upon the exit of Newbury Comics, which was driven out by unreasonable rent (like Toscanini’s) and no sense of loyalty. LaVerde’s has coveted the space for a much-needed expansion, but has been unable to work out a deal. However, as you are not a fan of LaVerde’s you can at least benefit from the competitor in Central Square (Star Market), which also has not always been there.

Starbucks? Viable? Honestly? You complain of LaVerde’s prices and you seek a Starbucks? There are plenty of coffee vendors in the area. It is possible that none may be, as you say, “decent.” In that case, you ought to bring pressure onto them to address your gourmand needs. Bosworth’s, LaVerde’s, Alpine, and Lobdell all serve coffee. Once upon time there was a dedicated Coffee House on the third floor, it even served gourmet fair trade coffee, but the community could/chose to no longer support it.

As for the day care center, it serves a vital role on campus. Just ask any TA, associate professor, or lecturer with children. The graduate community surpassed the undergrads some time ago and the ratio is now on the order of 3:2. Frustrating though it may be, they have different needs. Convenient child care for your instructors allows convenient office hours and scheduling by your lecturers for your needs. Perhaps we should tear down that world class gym. After all, I don’t use it. I bike and hike, but I sure miss the old orchard and BBQ pits.

Jerrad D. Pierce ’09

Happy Day 
Of Atonement! 

This week, I have received countless numbers of e-mails and face-to-face exchanges from colleagues wishing me a “Happy Thanksgiving!” It speaks volumes about our culture when such a racist, murderous holiday can be celebrated by all with great pleasure and rather dedicated amnesia. The 1621 harvest feast, made possible mostly by the great resourcefulness and benevolence of the Wampanoag people, was followed rather quickly with the widespread massacre of the native population. The first official “Day of Thanksgiving” was proclaimed in 1637 by Massachusetts Governor Winthrop, celebrating the safe return home of men who participated in the massacre of hundreds of Pequot women, children, and men.

This pattern of mass extermination lasted well up to the end of the 19th century. Of course, when Harvard President Larry Summers can declare that “the vast majority of suffering” was a “coincidence that was a consequence” of assimilation, and “nobody’s plan,” it is not surprising
that the nation as a whole should take such joy in the bounty of its riches. A more appropriate way of commemorating the day is perhaps represented by the indigenous population’s ceremonious National Day of Atonement. Since 1970, the United American Indians of New England have organized a collective day of mourning at Plymouth Rock, Mass, where they bear the great cold to stand for truth and justice rather than sit indoors celebrating false myths over turkey and football. This should be a day of shame, for deep reflection on the barbarous, savage history of this nation, and its continued ways of violence and destruction on its never-ending quest for (narrowly concentrated) wealth and power.

Rajvinder Singh G