Letters to the Editor

Save the MIT Post Office

To the MIT Community,

As the General President of Boston Metro Area Local 100, American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, I feel it is necessary to inform you about an urgent matter regarding your post office within the university.

Let me preface my remarks with the following: the American Postal Workers Union (circa 2008) notified the American public in Boston and surrounding towns of a United States Postal Service management initiative to close local post offices and the consequences of doing so. We alerted the public by Op-Eds in many local newspapers throughout the Boston area and presented our concerns to elected officials in the State House and the Boston City Council.

While we are always apprehensive about such plans and the impacts they will have on our membership, our immediate concern focuses on our ability to continue providing quality service to the citizens of America; and in that regard our track record is exemplary.

Now, you may ask, how does the closing of the MIT post office affect me, a university student from Boston or Seattle, or any city or town in the U.S.A., as well as a host of countries throughout the world? Well, your local post office is on the list to be reviewed for permanent closure.

The United States Postal Service, one of the most venerable institutions in America, is being systematically dismantled by the “powers that be,” and the results will be disastrous for the American public. By closing your post office, they will require you to go to a post office further away, and the number of additional customers will certainly delay your business dealings at that post office.

Millions of Americans depend on their local post office to send and receive checks, legal documents and, of course, letters and packages from family and friends. Your local post office also serves as the first line of defense in protecting the sanctity of your mail. The questions asked by your local window clerk are designed to protect the public through coordination with the Department of Homeland Security.

One only has to recall one of the darkest days in our history — 9/11, and the subsequent biochemical attacks on our mail service to understand this defense. The quiet heroics displayed by postal workers during the anthrax attack showed America the character, strength and resolve of our membership; that continues today as we keep the lines of communication open throughout the United States and the world.

However, those in positions of authority within the Postal Service will tell you they’re looking to close your post office because of factors such as “low mail volume” and the current economy. But, much of the Service’s dilemma is due to deficient forecasting and poor financial practices.

It is important that you know the MIT Post Office provides the Postal Service with a tidy profit. In fact, after expenses the MIT Post Office is expected to provide the Service with a $201,125 profit in FY 2009. So one must ask, if the Postal Service is supposedly bleeding money, why would it consider closing a profitable operation?

I don’t think Ben Franklin, the first Postmaster General, would approve of what is happening to the Service he established and envisioned.

This American tragedy is not about who to blame, however. It’s about how we, as Americans, can stop the destruction of our Postal Service.

We ask that you please contact university officials and local politicians to let them know you strongly disagree with the Postal Service’s plans to close your post office.

In mid-September we will be leafleting your campus to further inform you of our collective plight. We ask for your activism to help us, the American Postal Workers Union, keep our Postal Service as strong as our forefathers intended. Let’s not let them down. It’s that important!

General President

Boston Metro Area Local 100

American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO

Revenge of the Nerds: A New Beginning

An inglorious end: “Appeal Denied to ATO; Fraternity Is Expelled From House and MIT.”

Having fully moved into my cramped room for the last time, I finally lounged around reading The Tech. Then it struck me — I am a senior. I am old. We are old. As MIT prepares for another semester of week-long tooling and weekend partying, half of the undergraduate students don’t even know who ATO is. Soon, there will be no more memory at MIT of Alpha Tau Omega, nor of this 2010 Senior Class.

Feeling surprisingly nostalgic due to ATO’s demise, I decided to write my first letter to The Tech. Like many of you, I am not affiliated with any fraternity. Nor any sorority, for that matter. Like many of you, I work and I play, nervously dancing the night away at parties, or happily toiling away on never-ending psets. And, like many of you, I know it’s much harder to complete my psets on Friday morning than to get trashed on Friday night, regardless of age, company, or drug of choice.

I am not the morality police. Having myself participated in some of both the good and the bad that MIT has to offer, I write this not to attack, nor to defend, but only to chronicle and be fair.

The IFC seemingly did the right thing. ATO had many second chances and were foolish enough to get caught repeatedly, and hated enough to eventually get punished. Nevertheless, removing a couple dozen brothers will do little more than fix a dilapidated frat house. A few years from now, no one will remember ATO at MIT, their great parties, nor the senior class that expelled them. And as we rejoice in Moral Victory over our own hated “jock frat,” we will once again turn a blind eye to dorms’ weekend-long drug binges, naked parties, and other likewise immoral activities.

Who gets to be the morality police? The admirable “one and done” policy should apply to all or to none. ATO is merely our sacrificial offering to morality and posterity, and the IFC an all-too-willing final Judge and Executioner.

A decade ago Sigma Phi Epsilon was punished; now it’s Alpha Tau Omega. MacGregor used to be a party dorm; now Baker is. The brothers’ pictures will remain on a dark, dusty wall, our pictures will lie inside some forgotten Facebook server, our children will study Chinese, and I wrote all this just to say: I liked Alpha Tau Omega. Ironically, it is the only frat that has ever denied me alcohol. That’s the definition of irony.