MIT Campus Police will expand regular patrols to include the Back Bay neighborhood where most MIT fraternities are located, once the department acquires arrest powers for its officers in Suffolk County, Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow announced Monday.
At the same time, the office of the Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education (ODSUE) announced that it was conducting a disciplinary investigation into the circumstances surrounding the alcohol-related death of freshman Scott Krueger.
In addition, the national office of Sigma Phi Epsilon (Sig Ep) has suspended the MIT chapter and an Alumni Advisory Council interviewed its 53 members over the weekend to determine whom to return to active status.
BACK BAY PATROLS
Campus Police have been informally patrolling the Back Bay fraternities on weekends this semester, but the new commitment will greatly increase their presence in the neighborhood.
The new patrol policy will be implemented in February after additional officers are hired and trained.
In making the announcement, Chancellor Bacow said, "We will be seeking authority to cover police business in Boston. We will also add staff and equipment that will enable the Campus Police to provide better community policing in the Back Bay. We hope that these efforts will help improve our ability to respond to community concerns in areas where significant numbers of MIT students live."
"I am very happy to have our department add the Boston-based fraternities, sororities and independent living groups to our patrol responsibilities," MIT Police Chief Anne P. Glavin said. "Over the last six months, we have worked with our students to develop a closer working relationship. Having a continuous presence in Boston will enable us to assist students with neighborhood issues and with Boston and [Boston University] police relationships.
"Having visited with fraternities this past fall, I know there are many dedicated students who want to work hard to improve the MIT student image in Boston. We are happy to help them work toward this goal."
The MIT investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Krueger's death commenced when the Suffolk County District Attorney's office and Boston Police Department completed the criminal probe into the case.
Dean Rosalind Williams's office sent letters to Mr. Krueger's Phi Gamma Delta fraternity brothers and fellow pledges last month, requesting information about Krueger's death in September 1997. The letter also asked for a response to the Suffolk County District Attorney's statement of the case, which outlines the state's version of the evening's events at the fraternity house.
The district attorney brought criminal charges of hazing and manslaughter against the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity (Fiji), an unincorporated association. The fraternity had dissolved and these charges were placed on the record as a default in October when nobody appeared in court to represent the fraternity. The default means that the charges could be reinstituted against the fraternity should it seek to reorganize in the future.
Dean Williams asked the fraternity members to reply in writing or orally. "We're trying to ascertain what information is available fromthe students," she said. "That will help us determine how to proceed in our disciplinary investigation."
The students' replies will be studied during IAP.
SIG EP SUSPENSION
The Sigma Phi Epsilon national office in Richmond, VA, placed the MIT chapter on probation and confiscated its charter on November 25 for "behaviors and actions [that are] inconsistent with Sigma Phi Epsilon's Statement on Chapter and Individual Responsibility." Members of the MIT chapter brought a keg on a visit to the Sig Ep chapter at Pennsylvania State University earlier in the semester.
The Alumni Advisory Council will notify members who will have their membership privileges reinstated this week. Members not invited back must move out of the fraternity house at 518 Beacon St. in Boston by December 19. Those students may make arrangements with the fraternity to store their belongings in the house over the holidays. These belongings must be moved when the students return for IAP or the spring semester.
The Dean's Office is awaiting completion of the national fraternity investigation before deciding whether to pursue the matter.
Sig Ep had its alcohol privileges suspended by the Boston Licensing Board until next February as a result of a 1997 incident in which an underage MIT freshman was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning after drinking at the house. The Interfraternity Council (IFC) ordered Sig Ep to donate $500 to an alcohol awareness program and provide CPR training for 50 persons.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 9, 1998.