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Fraternities disciplined in wake of alcohol incidents

One MIT fraternity has been suspended and another put on notice as a result of incidents involving alcohol abuse and reported underage drinking.

Both fraternities were notified of the actions by Neil Dorow, assistant dean for residence and campus activities.

Sigma Phi Epsilon was suspended from holding organized activities in its house at 518 Beacon St. in Boston and banned from having alcohol on the premises after a freshman was treated for alcohol intoxication last weekend. The student was taken from Baker House to the Medical Department in a Campus Police ambulance shortly after 3am Saturday.

The Dean's Office and Campus Police are investigating reports that the 18-year-old was served alcohol at Sig Ep. If the reports are substantiated, the fraternity faces additional sanctions. The student and others involved also may face disciplinary action.

At the other fraternity, Theta Chi, the residents removed all alcohol from the house and declared the house to be substance free after a Boston University freshman claimed she was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning as a result of drinks consumed at the fraternity on November 14. The Boston Licensing Board cited the house, at 528 Beacon St. in Boston, for underage drinking on November 20 and will schedule a hearing for January.

MIT officials did not suspend Theta Chi because preliminary inquiries indicate the incident occurred in an individual's room and not at a scheduled house event. Mr. Dorow said any infraction of Theta Chi's voluntary ban or the presence of alcohol in the house "could result in the house's suspension."

Shortly before the Theta Chi incident came to light on Thanksgiving weekend, the Boston Licensing Board voted unanimously to revoke the dormitory license of Phi Gamma Delta for seven months, effective January 15.

Phi Gamma Delta has been suspended since September, when freshman pledge Scott Krueger fell into an alcohol-induced coma after allegedly drinking heavily at a social event at the house located at 28 The Fenway. Mr. Krueger died in Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital on September 29.

The license revocation means that the fraternity's 37 residents, 11 of whom are freshmen, must move by January 15.

Members of the fraternity who wish to live on campus should follow the normal procedures for housing and work through Phillip Bernard, program director of residential life.

"We would certainly expect to house all of the freshmen on campus and will do our best to house all those upperclassmen who wish to be on campus as well," said Dean for Student Life Margaret Bates. "Since the change is coming between semesters, we have more flexibility than we would normally have during a semester, and so we expect to be able to offer housing to all those students who wish to be on campus.

"In addition, we are trying to identify options that would allow those students who wish to live together to do so," Dean Bates said. "Whether that means rooming together, living in the same residence or some accommodation for larger numbers of students will depend both upon individual preferences and upon the options we are able to identify."

Dean Bates said MIT would assist upperclassmen who prefer to live off-campus find such accommodations.

The licensing board said the Mal-colm Cotton Brown Corp., an alumni group that owns the house, would have to apply to restore its dormitory license when the suspension ends on August 15. If the license is restored, the board said, alcohol will be banned on the premises for two additional years. The Phi Gamma Delta national fraternity has voted to make all chapters substance-free by 2000.

In addition, the licensing board ordered MIT to report by June 1 its plans to supervise Phi Gamma Delta. The board also requested a report on the results of MIT's investigation into the events surrounding Mr. Krueger's death.

Meanwhile, the Interfraternity Council elected new officers last week. The new president is Duane Dreger of of Sigma Nu, a junior in mathematics. Other officers are: Margaret Tsai of Kappa Alpha Theta, a junior in chemical engineering, vice president for activities and organization; Bob Broderick of Zeta Psi, a junior in electrical engineering and computer science, vice president for internal affairs; sophomore Enid Choi of Kappa Alpha Theta, treasurer; and Lisa Tatterson of Alpha Chi Omega, a junior in biology, secretary.

Committee chairs are: Amir Mesarwi of Phi Delta Theta, a sophomore in chemical engineering, community relations; Katherine Hardacre of No. 6 Club, a junior in biology, judicial; Christopher Rezek of Alpha Delta Phi, a junior in linguistics and philosophy, public relations; and Hongsup Park of Phi Kappa Theta, a junior in biology, rush.

The National Interfraternity Conference (NIC) adopted a resolution at its annual meeting last week that encourages members to pursue alcohol-free facilities and pledges its support in such efforts. The NIC pledged to "actively seek the cooperation, support, staff involvement and resources commitment from institutions of higher learning in this effort."

On Sunday evening, 200 students attended a Campus-Wide Mixer, co-sponsored by Alpha Phi and Med-LINKS. The event combined snacks, "mocktails" (alcohol-free cocktails), an "Alcohol 101" lecture by Dr. William Kettyle, associate medical director, and a performance by UpFront, the theatrical arm of the MedLINKS program.

"It was a festive event where people could socialize without alcohol as well as get information about the effects of drinking. I hope there will be more events like this," said Tracy Desovich, student health educator.

Funding event was provided by the Medical Department and the Office of the Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education, as well as the Campus Activities Complex Program Board, LaVerde's and Health Education.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 10, 1997.

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