Class by Richard Scase

By Richard Scase

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The Dorm Goblin was not a specific group of students but rather a mythical entity similar to Kilroy of World War II fame. But the fact of attribution is one reason that many today consider these Dorm Goblin pranks of the 1920s the direct antecedent for the hacks unleashed on the Institute by organized student groups beginning in the 1960s. The Dorm Goblin pranks included the usual college fare, such as the threading of a 35-foot telegraph pole through Senior House dormitory in January 1928 or coaxing a live cow to the roof of the Class of 1893 dormitory (now East Campus dorm) dorm a few months later.

In the predawn hours of May 9, 1994, early-rising students were drawn to lights flashing on the dome. As the sky lightened, the whir of traffic helicopters alerted other students and staff. Campus Police Chief Anne Glavin heard about the situation on the news while driving to work. Gradually, all could see what has since become one of most famous and best-loved hacks: Campus Police Car on the Dome. The luminous spring sky proved an ideal backdrop against which to view the white car glinting in the sun 150 feet above the ground on the grand dais of the Great Dome.

Other administration concerns have grown from a small series of episodes that blurred the uncomfortable line between hacking and breaking and entering, at least in the eyes of the campus security force. “I’d rather deal with another prison riot than this hacking,” said MIT Director of Facilities and Security John DiFava, a former state police officer, in a 2008 interview with The Tech. An incident in which three students were arrested in the Faculty Club late one Saturday night in 2006 caused a particular ruckus after it became public in February 2007.

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