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Board defers action on Kappa Sigma

The Cambridge License Commission (CLC) deferred action against Kappa Sigma last week to allow a series of MIT proposals to combat underage drinking to be implemented.

CLC chair Benjamin C. Barnes, in announcing the decision on Thursday, said the CLC would review the situation in six months. He praised MIT for being "creative and intelligent" in confronting the problems of underage drinking and alcohol abuse.

"We appreciate the commission's effort to think broadly," said Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict, who outlined the proposals in a letter to the CLC last Wednesday. He said MIT and Kappa Sigma would provide periodic updates to the CLC on how the programs are progressing.

In addition, Mr. Barnes and the Interfraternity Council (IFC) scheduled a meeting for last night (December 5) to stress the importance of seeking medical help during an emergency without fear of repercussions from the commission.

"We must convey to fraternity members that we're not out to get them," said Richard V. Scali, the CLC's executive officer, who will also attend the meeting along with Andrea Boyer, the commission's chief investigator. "Their first issue of business must be to get help." IFC President Damien A. Brosnan said the meeting was mandatory for Cambridge fraternity presidents, although other interested members would be welcome. "Mr. Barnes is the best friend our community has on the CLC right now," said Mr. Brosnan.

Dean Benedict proposed:

��������� That MIT and Kappa Sigma form a committee to focus on underage drinking issues. Members would include the Dean for Alcohol Education and Community Development when one is appointed, other administration officials, and representatives from the Campus Police, MIT Medical, the IFC, the Dormitory Council and the CLC.

��������� That MIT host a forum at which officials from Harvard, MIT, Lesley College, Cambridge College and the Cambridge Rindge & Latin School can discuss ways to curb underage drinking with CLC representatives. The process would start with a January workshop entitled "Solutions for Reducing High-Risk Alcohol Use in the College Community."

��������� That representatives from the IFC and the Dormitory Council and perhaps Kappa Sigma join the Cambridge License Advisory Board (CLAB), a group of restaurants, hotels and package stores that meet monthly with CLC members to discuss underage drinking issues.

��������� That Kappa Sigma members work with a CLAB subcommittee to develop a community service project.

��������� That MIT hire a part-time executive administrator to coordinate all of these efforts.

These actions were triggered by a September 29 incident at Kappa Sigma at 407 Memorial Drive, in which a member suffering from alcohol poisoning was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital. At a November 14 hearing, several of his fraternity brothers said that before calling for help, they discussed the possibility that the call would lead to CLC sanctions. Kappa Sigma had volunteered to be alcohol-free following a previous incident.

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.

On December 12, the CLC will hold a hearing on an October 28 incident at Next House (located at 500 Memorial Drive), in which an intoxicated underage female student was hospitalized. Next House received a written warning from the CLC in October regarding a similar incident last June.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 6, 2000.

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