Letters to the Editor

Editorial Ignores Krasnoslobodtsev’ Background

How MIT responds to Artem Krasnoslobodtsev’s incendiary e-mail to the Sloan LGBT group will impact how the Institute is viewed by the public. Indeed, as an alumnus, I learned about the incident by reading the Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web column. The Tech editorial written on April 15 compares the harsh three-semester suspension of Burns Schilling ’02 to the comparatively light punishment meted out to Krasnoslobodtsev, and asks “How does Kraus’s case differ from Schilling’s?” One difference is that Krasnoslobodtsev did not grow up in the U.S., as is pointed out in a published letter from the Sloan LGBT student group, while Schilling did grow up here, presumably. The Committee on Discipline may not have expected from Krasnoslobodtsev the same respect for the freedom of homosexuals that we would expect from Schilling.

I concur with the need for the COD to be more transparent. The MIT community deserves a frank disclosure of the committee’s proceedings, which would put to rest harmful speculation — which has already begun — about whether or not MIT is meting out different punishments to different people on the basis of national origin.

Even if the COD maintains its secrecy, though, it would be valuable to begin a dialogue on the feasibility of reconciling liberal values with the deeply rooted beliefs of other cultures. There is tension between our tolerance of homosexuality and our desire to accommodate other cultures, some of which are openly hostile and sometimes violent towards homosexuals. Diversity has its value, but as the folks from Sloan should know, particularly the LGBT group, nothing is free.

Tech Should Not Have Named Krasnoslobodtsev

When the officers of Sloan LGBT were interviewed for The Tech article on the homophobic e-mail sent by Artem Krasnoslobodtsev, we, as a group, steadfastly refused to identify him. Even when we initially revealed the details of this incident to the Sloan community on March 31, our entire group was in agreement that the identity of the student should not be revealed to the public. We even went so far as to retract obvious identifiers from the original e-mail.

This, of course, begs the question as to why The Tech found it appropriate to suddenly reveal this student’s identity to the entire community. What possible purpose does this serve? What possible value does this add? As I have stated time and time again both in public (to The Tech) and in private conversations regarding this issue — this is not a witch hunt. Instead of singling out the accused (as The Tech has done), we as a community should be asking ourselves more important questions: How can we prevent such incidents from happening in the future? And what we can do to ensure that disciplinary action at MIT is a fair and judicious process?

Editor’s Note: Krasnoslobodtsev willfully spoke and acted in a way that is contrary to the standards of our society and the academic community. He is neither the victim of a crime, nor a perpetrator whose identity could indirectly hurt victims. Publishing Artem Kras’ name contributes trustworthiness to our reporting and conveys a necessary truth to the community.