Service Planned for Yngve Raustein


A remembrance service for Yngve K. Raustein, the MIT junior who was stabbed to death on Memorial Drive and who was laid to rest in his hometown of Os, Norway, Tuesday, will be held on Friday, October 9, at 2:30pm in the Bartos Theater at the Wiesner Building (E15).

Mr. Raustein's parents, Elmer and Inghild Raustein, and their 18-year-old,son, Dan-Jarle, are expected to attend the service, part of a healing process that began last week with two memorial vigils-one by Cambridge high school students and the other by the MIT community.

The funeral service in Os yesterday was attended by MIT history professor William B. Watson, housemaster at Baker House, where the 21-year-old Mr. Raustein lived, and by Arne Fredheim, an undergraduate research affiliate, also from Norway. Mr. Fredheim was with Mr. Raustein when they were set upon by three youths at about 9:45pm on Friday night, Sept. 18, on the Memorial Drive sidewalk,near the Hayden Library. The youths took the wallets of Mr. Raustein and Mr. Fredheim-containing $33-and fled across the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge to Kenmore Square in Boston, where they were arrested about 24 minutes after the crime by Boston University police.

The shock of the killing and its aftermath triggered many responses, including a peace march on Thursday, Sept. 24, and a Cambridge City Hall meeting on Monday, Sept. 28, involving MIT students, Cambridge Rindge and Latin Students and Cambridge Mayor Kenneth Reeves. The MIT students are members of a seminar class, "Current Issues At MIT." The meeting was an informal discussion and neither group of students represented their institutions officially.

The peace march to the MIT campus on was made by about 100 Cambridge Rindge and Latin students whose message, essentially, was to express their sorrow at Mr. Raustein's death and to condemn the violence in society that they said caused it.

"I'm here to say that I'm angry," said Serena Derman, a senior. "Why does it take an incident like Rodney King or the murder of a Norwegian student to get us angry?"

Several students spoke [see excerpts of their remarks, Pg. ] as others held the banner of the organization under which they had come together, "Students Against Violence and for Equality."

The students also presented a statement condemning the killing and expressing their sorrow to Norwegian consul Terje Korsnes. He said he would deliver the statement to Mr. Raustein's family "in the hope that the healing can begin for all of us."

He added he had been in regular touch with Mr. Raustein's parents and that "they bear no ill feelings to the people of Cambridge, to the schools here or to the city. They are comforted by your expressions of compassion through it all."

The high school principal, Edward R. Sarasin, told reporters that the students wanted to show a "sense of responsibility" and to let people know "that they don't condone violence."

Cambridge School Superintendent Mary Lou McGrath, who accompanied the students, had noted earlier that the school system has introduced some 20 violence-prevention activities and projects throughout the system.

That evening, some 350 MIT students, faculty and staff, along with some Cambridge officials, attended a candlelight vigil on the Kresge Oval in Mr. Raustein's memory organized by Baker House residents Kelly M. Sullivan and Patricia L. Birgeneau, who told The Tech it was intended to "express our sadness and show Yngve's family that we all grieve with them."

Those attending the vigil included MIT President Charles M. Vest; Naved A. Khan, a friend of Mr. Raustein; a staff member from the office of Cambridge Mayor Kenneth E. Reeves; School Superintendent McGrath; members of the Cambridge school committee and city council; and Robert M. Randolph, associate dean for student affairs, who conducted the program.

He told the gathering that "too often in the world we are separated and alone" and that one purpose of the vigil was "sharing loss and grief and being reminded of the importance of community."

As the candles were being lit, he said the candlelight symbolized "our commitment to driving darkness away." He added, "The light from the candles speaks symbolically of the end of ignorance, the sharing of wisdom and the driving out of fear and anger. Those are the things we are concerned about tonight."

In his remarks, Dean Randolph recited a verse from Langston Hughes titled "Border Line" that he said "speaks strongly to us tonight:"

I used to wonder

About living and dying-

I think the difference lies

Between tears and crying.

I used to wonder

About here and there-

I think the distance

Is nowhere.

He continued: "While Yngve as we have known him is gone, he is not gone forever. He will always be part of us; a part of our lives that does not age or suffer disappointment. He will be forever young. The question we must now answer is how will we be different because of what has happened?

"There are those who tell us we must be different in regard to our safety. Know where you can go and when. Be street smart. Such advice-while true-would not have averted the tragedy we remember tonight.

"There are those who tell us we cannot trust one another; that we cannot trust our neighbors. They say we must always be prepared to fight or flee. Such advice would not have averted the tragedy we remember tonight.

"John Coburn, former Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts, has said that life is best described as a parade. It begins somewhere; passes the reviewing stand at some point and finally disbands. Tonight in our lives we may be passing a reviewing stand and we are asking where is life going? Are we pleased with the direction of the parade? Do you see anything ahead? Where are you going?

"Nobody asked you to join this parade. You did not volunteer and when the parade disbands it will probably not be by choice. It was not for our friend Yngve. The point is that there is little in life that goes on because we will it. Much of it goes on in spite of our wishes, `Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans.'

"Part of coming to grips with life is the acceptance of death. Accepting death makes it possible to accept life-the good and the evil, the conflicts, the defeats as well as the victories. It means that we can march in the parade with confidence and hope. That is what I hope you can do tonight. With an eye toward where you are going-not just in the moment, but in the days and weeks ahead-I hope that you will take these candles with you while they still burn. Let the light go out from this place to say that it will not be overwhelmed by random violence; that where there is darkness we bring light; where there is pain, we are agents of healing; where there are broken communities we are committed to wholeness.

"Go now with candles still lit; go in peace and when you reach your destination extinguish your candle but do not forget the power of its light."

On Friday, some members of the MIT community wore white ribbons given out by Project Awareness at a booth in Lobby 7. Project Awareness, a liaison group between the dean's office and the Campus Police, also gave out whistles for use in attacks.

Students and others also were invited to write short messages to be given to Mr. Raustein's family.

One of them said:

"I had just met your son at the beginning of this year. What a jolly, happy fellow he was. Life is just too much of a mystery to understand why he was taken away from this world. I wish you all the love and peace of mind as you reflect on the gift that was your son."

The three assailants-Shon McHugh, 15, Joseph D. Donovan, 17, and Alfredo Velez, 18, are being held in high bail on murder and robbery charges. Donovan and Velez are due back in Cambridge District Court tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 1) for a pre-trial conference and McHugh on October 6. The Middlesex County District Attorney's office has announced that it will begin proceedings to have McHugh tried as an adult rather than a juvenile and thus subject him to more severe penalties if he is convicted.

A version of this
article appeared in the
September 30, 1992

issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume
37, Number
8).


Topics: Special events and guest speakers

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