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MIT takes steps on several fronts after Krueger death

A Web site devoted to discussion of "Alcohol Policies and the Campus Environment" has been established to enhance and record the debate spurred by the death of freshman Scott Krueger last month. The site is at and is listed under "resources" on the MIT home page.

The Web site, which will have links to relevant information and resources will provide opportunities for people to comment (and read others' views) on alcohol policy, binge drinking, freshman orientation and housing policy. It will serve as another avenue for members of the MIT community to provide information and ideas to the various committees and task forces that are working on these matters. The site was designed by Daniel Stevenson, last year's chair of The Tech and now a graduate student at the Media Laboratory, in conjunction with the President's Office.

In addition, President Charles M. Vest announced last week that plans to erect a new dormitory on campus were proceeding and an architect would be chosen shortly. Dr. Vest made the dorm a priority project shortly after Mr. Krueger's death, primarily to provide more options for on-campus housing for undergraduates. The dorm should be open in three or four years.

President Vest also announced that Dr. Mark Goldstein, chief of student health services, would co-chair with Professor Phillip Sharp the working group charged with developing educational programs and strategies to prevent binge drinking on campus. The group will consist of faculty, staff and students.

Professor Sharp, winner of the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology in 1993, said the group would collect material on the subject and invite experts to MIT for seminars during the spring semester. The work should be completed by the end of the academic year.

Ever since Mr. Krueger collapsed, alcohol abuse and binge drinking have been the topics of formal and informal dialogue on campus. The Office of the Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education scheduled an open meeting for students to explore these issues last night at La Sala de Puerto Rico in the Stratton Student Center.

Prior to that, conversations were conducted in various settings, including freshman seminars, departmental meetings, the October faculty meeting, residence halls, independent living groups and academic and School councils.

The issues are also expected to be discussed at the town meeting on October 31 in Kresge Auditorium.

In other developments:

  • Rosalind Williams, dean of students and undergraduate education, joined officials from Harvard and Boston Universities in testifying before the Boston City Council on October 9. They followed Dr. Henry Wechsler of the Harvard School of Health, who testified that binge drinking is "deeply entrenched and widespread at American colleges." In addition to Dean Williams, Dean for Student Life Margaret Bates, Campus Police Chief Ann Glavin, and Neal Dorow, assistant dean for fraternities, sororities and independent living groups, also testified.
  • The national leadership of Phi Gamma Delta announced that the fraternity would be alcohol-free by the 2000-01 academic year.
  • Four underage members of the Zeta Psi fraternity were cited by the Massachusetts Alcohol Control Commission on October 10 for trying to buy a keg of beer. MIT banned alcohol at the fraternity.

The Interfraternity Council, which had called for a voluntary ban on alcohol at all formal events conducted by fraternities, is considering a motion to suspend Zeta Psi.

Mr. Krueger, 18, a freshman from Orchard Park, NY, died at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center on September 29 after spending more than two days in an alcohol-induced coma. He collapsed at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house in Boston on September 26 after an informal celebration of the assignment of freshmen pledges to upperclassmen big brothers.

A Suffolk County grand jury is investigating the circumstances surrounding his death. The fraternity has been suspended by MIT and its national chapter.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 22, 1997.

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