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IRC- the organization of a student government

By David P. Hamilton


The InterFraternity Council (IFC) is the representative body for the 34 fraternities and independent living groups (ILGs) at MIT. It is "probably the strongest student government group on campus," according to Robert A. Sher-wood, associate dean for student affairs.

"The continuity of leadership within the IFC has always been strong," Sherwood said. He cited IFC's independence, which he saw as an asset rather than a disadvantage, as the reason for the organization's continuity.

Sherwood said that the IFC has operated for the past three years without a full-time fraternity advisor in the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs (ODSA).

"During that time, the quality of IFC programs remained constant," he said. The IFC will receive a new advisor in mid-May. Mark Ertel, who will graduate from Memphis State University, will assume the position.

IFC Chairman Tinley Anderson '86 said the IFC has no specific long-term goals, although it is responsible for several activities during the year. He outlined the IFC's major commitments. It must organize Rush during Residence/Orientation Week, resolve conflicts between individual member houses and act as a liaison between houses and the Dean's Office.

The IFC supports both new and existing independent living groups. It promotes constructive community relations and maintains administrative ties with the ODSA. "The IFC has always been more of a service organization than a legislative one," Sherwood said.

The IFC oversees its Ex-ecutive, Expansion, Rush, Judicial and Community Relations Committees. They fulfill IFC's commitments to MIT and its member houses.

O+ The Executive Committee coordinates the action of the other committees. It is the IFC's primary voice to the ODSA. As the legislativebody, the committee is responsible for the IFC's constitution and policies that are subject to ap-proval by the general membership.

IFC relations with the ODSA are generally good, Anderson said. "I'd be dishonest to say that we never disagree [with the ODSA]" he said, "but generally we work together well."

O+ The Expansion Committee assists local clubs who want to affiliate with national organizations in order to become MIT-recognized living groups. Most recently, the committee helped Club Amherst join the national Alpha Phi sorority.

The committee is not directly involved with finding houses for new groups. It does emphasize the responsibility of the administration, especially the Planning Office and the Office of the Vice President, to take action on behalf of existing and potential ILGs.

O+ The Rush Committee has one of the most important responsibilities of the IFC. It must establish a fair rushing policy for all members. The committee is also involved in organizing pre-picnic discussion groups for freshmen and emphasizing the importance of a good summer rush.

In addition, the committee is currently considering the effect of MIT's proposed dry rush policy on its own guidelines.

O+ The Judicial Committee handles disputes within the IFC and with the ODSA. This committee is most visible, and most influential, during Residence/Orientation Week, when it is responsible for enforcing the Rush regulations set forth by the Rush Committee.

Despite the emphasis placed on this task, the Judicial Committee is viable throughout the academic year, Sherwood said. Whenever a student or a living group feels that their rights have been violated, they may file a complaint with the committee, he added.

The committee may review cases either solely or jointly with the Dean's Office. The committee is authorized to fine a living group up to $500, sentence it to conditional or unconditional IFC probation, or recommend to the ODSA the suspension of Rush privileges and/or the removal of the offending group from campus.

O+ The Community Relations Committee is responsible for maintaining communications with neighbors in the Boston/Back Bay area. The committee also facilitates ILG participation in various community service projects such as the Alley Rally, the MIT/Red Cross Blood Drive, and clean-ups of the Boston Common. The group also nominates candidates for the Killian Award, presented annually to the ILG with the best community service program.

General meetings of the IFC are held monthly at an ILG selected by the Vice Chairman. Each ILG can send any number of representatives to each general meeting, although each full member receives only one vote. Alpha Phi, a probationary IFC member because of its lack of housing, is not allowed to vote, although it may send representatives to all meetings.