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Alcohol board suspends Sig Ep for one year

Sigma Phi Epsilon's self-imposed "indefinite" ban on alcohol cannot end before Feb. 12, 1999, the day a one-year alcohol suspension imposed by the Boston Licensing Board (BLB) is over.

The BLB announced its decision on February 12, two days after officials from MIT and the fraternity testified at a hearing into the circumstances surrounding a December 6 party at the house which led to an 18-year-old freshman receiving medical treatment for alcohol intoxication. The fraternity, known as Sig Ep, became substance-free on December 10, a decision made by the chapter and the Mass Delta Alumni Association, which owns the house at 518 Beacon St. in Boston.

Noting the lack of a concrete deadline on the voluntary suspension, BLB chair Ellen Rooney said, "The fraternity should be disciplined."

During the hearing, Campus Police Capt. John Driscoll quoted witnesses who told investigators the female student had consumed 12 to 15 shots of alcohol before returning to her room at Baker House.

Kevin Stange, president of Sig Ep and a junior in mechanical engineering, acknowledged that the student attended the party but said he was told she also drank before she arrived and afterward. He said the party -- attended by about 50 people, most of them members of Sig Ep -- was not sponsored by the fraternity. The party, which took place despite the Interfraternity Council's ban on alcohol, "sprang up kind of spontaneously," said Mr. Stange.

Shaun Meredith (SB '90), president of Mass Delta, said that in addition to imposing the indefinite ban, the corporation required the chapter to appoint a resident advisor and adopt the national Balanced Man project that "essentially eliminates pledging."

Mr. Stange said the chapter viewed the indefinite ban as "an experiment."

Before the BLB decision was announced, the fraternity pleaded guilty to violating the IFC Risk Management Alcohol Policy. In addition to ruling that the fraternity remain alcohol-free until June 1 (a moot point in light of the BLB action), the IFC ordered it to provide CPR training sessions for 50 people and donate $500 to an alcohol awareness program.

On Saturday, March 14, Mitch Crane, a former district governor of Sigma Phi Epsilon, will speak at Kresge Auditorium in a program sponsored by the Alumni IFC and the Office of Residence and Campus Activities. The title is "Alcohol -- Its Impact on the Living Group and Its Residents."

Mr. Crane, an attorney and former Pennsylvania judge, teaches a course on legal liability for administrators at West Chester State University in Pennsylvania. He has conducted seminars at more than 100 colleges and universities.

Other speakers include Ron Fleming, director of the Medical Department's personal assistance program, and Dr. Robert Deloian, general council president of the Phi Delta Theta national fraternity, which has declared that all chapters will be alcohol free by 2000. The program runs from 12:30-4pm.

Last Saturday, about 1,000 students heard former West Chester State football player Mike Green discuss "Drinking, Partying, Sex and Friends" at Kresge Auditorium. The talk was sponsored by Sigma Chi, Zeta Psi and the IFC. Mr. Green, a recovering alcoholic, runs Collegiate Consultants on Drugs and Alcohol in St. David's, PA. He has discussed these issues on numerous other campuses, including the Air Force Academy, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State University.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 25, 1998.

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