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City panel mulls action on Kappa Sigma

Benjamin C. Barnes, chair of the Cambridge Licensing Commission (CLC), plans to meet with members of MIT fraternities, sororities and independent living groups to urge them to seek medical help for persons showing signs of alcohol-induced distress without fear of repercussions.

Mr. Barnes made the commitment after a Kappa Sigma brother told a November 14 CLC hearing that house members considered whether CLC sanctions might be triggered by seeking medical help for a brother suffering from alcohol poisoning on September 29. At the time, Kappa Sigma had agreed to be alcohol-free because of a previous incident.

"Our first message is to get help," said Mr. Barnes.

The student was taken to MIT Medical and subsequently transported to Massachusetts General Hospital.

After the incident, the Kappa Sigma alumni board assumed control of the house and expelled four members after interviewing all of them. At the same time, 12-15 seniors left the house voluntarily. The board also appointed new officers for the chapter.

Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict has said that because the members sought help and the alumni took strong and responsible action, MIT would not sanction the fraternity for the incident.

The CLC will issue a decision on November 30. "I think they have to take some action," said CLC Executive Officer Richard V. Scali. Commission members indicated that they were leaning toward suspension of the fraternity's dormitory license rather than revocation.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 22, 2000.

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