SGA’s “Keep the T in Tech Week” has brought attention to the campus-wide issue of stealing T’s from campus signs. This new “tradition” does a great deal of harm to the Institute, both financially and aesthetically, and likewise causes much greater harm than benefit to campus life.
However, one argument that is often used against stealing T’s—that it is not true to the “real” tradition of stealing the T from Tech Tower—rings hollow. The administration has led a crackdown on attempts on “the T,” and any attempt at it would be met by, if anything, even harsher repercussions than those facing students who steal smaller T’s from campus signs. The impending crackdown on the thefts of smaller T’s just highlights that it is difficult to call something a tradition when campus figures make it all but impossible to enact. If anything, it should be considered part of campus history, like Sideways the dog and drown-proofing, as opposed to an active tradition.
As for the events of this past week, they represent a promising start to a campaign against the vandalism on campus, but will ultimately mean little without continued effort. Pressuring current students not to steal T’s will inevitably encourage just as many thefts of T’s as it will discourage. Real effort must be made to ensure that incoming freshmen are taught the history of Stealing the T, while also making sure they know the repercussions of vandalizing campus. Pressure must also be applied on upperclassmen to ensure that they do not mislead new students for the sake of amusement.
While the week was, in itself, a good start to this campaign, it is disconcerting that the administration chose to hide behind SGA. Much of the force for the week came from the administration, and it is disappointing that they felt the need to put pressure on student leaders to affect their peers instead of addressing the student body directly.