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Lambda Chi Alpha national suspends MIT chapter for at least five years

MIT withdraws recognition, offers members on-campus housing.
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The Lambda Chi Alpha General Fraternity (LCAGF) board of directors has voted to suspend its Lambda Zeta chapter at MIT for at least five years due to “conduct that does not support the fraternity’s priority of providing a healthy chapter environment for its members.” A representative from LCAGF headquarters met with chapter members this evening to make the announcement. In light of the suspension, MIT has withdrawn its recognition of Lambda Zeta chapter as an official student organization and announced that the chapter house will close and residents be required to leave the building this Sunday.

In a letter to chapter members, Chris Colombo, dean for student life, announced that on-campus housing is available to members for the remainder of the semester, and that they could stay in the chapter house until Sunday under an agreement with Lambda Zeta Associates, the alumni corporation that owns the chapter house at 99 Bay State Rd. The terms of that agreement include no events or alcohol of any kind on the premises, and a prohibition against visitors except Lambda Zeta chapter members and alumni. Lambda Zeta chapter alumni will also live in the house until it closes.

Colombo also wrote that “[i]n making its decision to close the house swiftly, MIT was concerned with protecting the interests of the overall FSILG system. Lambda Zeta chapter has demonstrated an inability to adhere to certain standards, and that has had reputational consequences for all of the other FSILGs. MIT determined that allowing Lambda Zeta chapter members to continue to live in the chapter house even after having been suspended by the national chapter would introduce further risk to the FSILG system as a whole.”

“MIT is ready to support you through the transitions,” Colombo wrote, offering relocation help on Sunday and assistance with finding on-campus or off-campus housing for the spring. He also encouraged members who need additional emotional or academic assistance to contact Student Support Services or MIT Mental Health and Counseling.

The LCAGF has asked that MIT consider allowing Lambda Zeta to recolonize once the suspension has been served. The Institute has indicated its willingness to discuss recolonization so long as certain conditions are fulfilled by the LCAGF and Lambda Zeta chapter’s alumni. Also, MIT will approach Lambda Zeta alumni and the IFC to work out a plan for maintaining the famous “Smoot” markings on the Harvard Bridge, which were first painted by Lambda Zeta pledges in 1958, based on the height of fellow pledge Oliver Smoot ’62.

Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart said, “Lambda Zeta chapter of LCA has fallen short of the MIT community’s expectations, to our great disappointment. Our decision to accept the action taken by the national of LCA is not made lightly. It is my hope that this incident will reveal itself as a learning opportunity for those involved. My staff will do all it can to help the members of LCA transition to new living arrangements and to manage the disruption that this may cause them.”

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