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 Pasadena, CA, 4/18/2006

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Cross-country tit for tat
Caltech retrieves cannon from MIT
Emanuel Parker Staff Writer

PASADENA - Caltech's 100-year-old cannon is headed back to Pasadena and could return to campus this weekend, or no later than next Tuesday.

The three-ton cannon was stolen March 28 by students from archrival Massachusetts Institute of Technology posing as professional movers. They took it back to their Cambridge, Mass., campus, and placed a huge MIT class ring on its barrel.

Caltech spokeswoman Jill Perry said 23 Caltech students and seven alumni flew to Cambridge on Sunday and retrieved the cannon early Monday from its temporary home in front of MIT's Green Building.

"MIT students were there, the campus police were there, this took place in broad daylight," Perry said.

The MIT students welcomed their Caltech counterparts and congratulated them on the swiftness of their response. They planned to treat them to a barbecue, Perry said, but campus police said they didn't have permission for the fete.

"The cannon means a lot to us," said Scott Jordan, 22, one of the students who helped recover it. Jordan is president of Fleming House, where the cannon resides.

"We treat the cannon with a lot of respect. It's a piece of history, and we don't want it anywhere else


but at Caltech," he said. "It all happened very quickly. Given the fact that it was rushed, I think it was great."

"I think everyone is very happy to get it back," said Tom Mannion, Caltech's assistant vice president of student affairs. "The MIT students were impressed by their sheer numbers and the speed with which they got there. It went very well. It was very collegiate, the take-back," he said.

The cannon will make the 3,000-mile trip back to Pasadena on a freight truck. Mannion said there will likely be a gathering to celebrate its return and "they'll probably fire it off."

In its place, in front of MIT's Green Building, the Caltech students left a miniature cannon under glass and scrawled "Fleming" on some Green Building windows.

(626) 578-6300, Ext. 4475.


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