2009 Brass Rat Design Mistakenly Available in Jan., Before Premiere

The Class of 2009 ring design, which will be officially unveiled tonight, was accidentally published on Athena and has been available for over a month. The draft version of the ring premiere brochure, originally discovered by The Tech, details the bezel and shanks of the ring, along with pictures and a history of the design.

The Ring Committee, comprised of members of the Class of 2009, placed the document online for collaboration. Although the design was finalized before Thanksgiving, the brochure was being produced for presentation at the start of the brass rat premiere.

"The first draft was put up for viewing by the Committee and [ring manufacturer] Balfour," said Christopher G. Whitfield '09, Chair of the Ring Committee.

The ring committee had previously identified the security problem and "thought it was secured for our second draft," said Whitfield.

"As the chair of the committee, I shoulder the blame for [the leak]," he told The Tech.

Portions of the Class of 2004 brass rat design were leaked by their ring committee.

"I think that's the only other time a design was leaked," said Colleen P. Mosley '09, Vice Chair of the Ring Committee.

In that leak, the decision to modify the seal by including a woman prompted a campus-wide debate and vote on the topic. The class voted against including a woman, and the final design had two men on the seal.

The 2009 Ring Committee ran a survey at the beginning of the year, seeking input on the 2009 design and the possibility of modifying the seal.

"About half said they wanted a girl on the ring," said Ring Committee Historian Arjun Naskar '09. "It was very divided."

Amy Gilpin '09, Ring Committee Treasurer, said the issue of a female on the MIT seal was a priority for the committee. "It was definitely an issue we heavily weighed."

According to Whitfield, students should still be excited for the ring premiere. "This is an unfortunate mishap," said Whitfield. "But our priority now is to ensure this is still a surprise to the community."

From those who have seen the design, reactions have been mixed.

"Oh fuck! That's gross and disgusting," exclaimed Carlos Cardenas '09. "Wow. Our class is really creative," he added sarcastically.

Yicong Liu '09 was more supportive of the design. "It's very creative," she said. "It has a lot of hidden messages … more subtle than previous years," said Liu.

The design was still available in the Athena OldFiles mount point directory as of press time.