A request by MIT Campus Police for misdemeanor complaints against three MIT undergraduates in connection with a Halloween prank that went awry was continued without a finding until September 1, 2000 in a closed hearing today at Cambridge District Court. A similar request against an alumnus was dismissed.
Middlesex County Assistant Clerk Magistrate Robert Pacheco ordered the three undergraduates to make restitution of $1,306.42 to the Cambridge Fire Department and to perform eight hours of community service apiece. The complaints relate to the illegal possession and use of fireworks and to disturbing the peace.
The students were promoting a Phi Kappa Sigma Halloween party to raise money for the Leukemia Society of America when a device carried by one of them accidentally exploded in his hands as several of them marched through a classroom on October 26. The student holding the device suffered serious hand injuries.
The party was canceled but the drive to raise funds for the Leukemia Society of America continued, culminating in a rally on campus. A check for $14,267 was presented to the charity on Thursday evening by members of Phi Kappa Sigma.
"We are grateful to the members of Phi Kappa Sigma for their commitment to the Leukemia Society," said Iris Gleason, executive director of the Massachusetts chapter, who accepted the contribution. "As a fraternity, they have traditionally recognized the importance of our mission. We appreciate that."
In response to the incident, Cambridge and Boston mobilized public safety forces, including the bomb squads from both cities, and the campus and Massachusetts Avenue were disrupted for several hours. A number of MIT buildings had to be evacuated during the investigation. Campus Police found metal fragments from the device scattered in the vicinity, including one deeply embedded in a wooden doorframe.