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MIT frats and BU dorms discuss problems

By Brian Rosenberg

Representatives of 15 Back Bay fraternities and the Interfraternity Council met with Boston University administrators on Feb. 21 to discuss the fraternities' conduct. The Feb. 21 meeting resulted in several decisions which may affect Back Bay social activities.

The meeting was in response to complaints by BU students and deans of excessive noise and underage drinking at MIT fraternity parties. A memorandum by Associate Dean for Student Affairs James R. Tewhey said other allegations against the fraternities ranged from "serious injuries suffered by members and party guests to Lodging House License violations registered with the Boston Licensing Board."

"The main focus of the meeting was opening new lines of communication," said Miles Arnone '91, president of the IFC. "We tried to assure the BU people we're responsive to their concerns. We want to be made aware of problems so we can deal with them," he said.

According to a record of the meeting released by the IFC, BU students said they generally dealt with noise problems by calling BU police, who have jurisdiction in the area. MIT students suggested that a better first step would be to call the fraternity itself or the MIT police.

"BU police have sheriff's powers [in the Back Bay], which means they can enter without a search warrant, which they've often done in a forceful manner," Arnone said. "It was my impression they were going to be at the meeting, but they didn't show up," he added.

The BU police were not available for comment.

Campus Police Chief Anne P. Glavin said, "It's beneficial for MIT students if calls come to us. When we investigate a call, we often find that the MIT fraternity is dead quiet, and that the caller made a mistake."

As a result of this suggestion, the phone numbers of MIT fraternities and the MIT Campus Police will be distributed to BU dormitory governments, the BU police department, and the BU Office of Residence Life. MIT fraternities will receive the BU academic calendar to allow the houses to plan parties around BU study weekends.

Underage drinking was also addressed during the meeting. "Complaints often centered around a BU student who would get involved in destructive behavior while drunk, and when questioned, said they'd been drinking at an MIT fraternity. It's easy for them to say that rather than blame one of their friends, and there's never any proof," Arnone said.

Ariel Warszawski '90, chair of the IFC Judicial Committee, said "A violation on the scale of not carding or serving minors who aren't stamped will almost certainly result in a court appearance. JudComm is stressing stronger enforcement because the Dean's Office has given the IFC greater self-policing power. Incidents where underage drinking was reported used to go to the Dean's Office, but will now go to JudComm."

Most of the MIT representatives at the meeting were surprised by the lack of BU administrative representatives, including the BU police. Neal H. Dorow, MIT's advisor to ILGs, said, "My expectation was that there would be more representatives from the university."

Paul Lazar, one of five area directors for the BU Office of Residence Life, refused to speak for either the BU administration or the BU students. "The three BU administrators who were at the meeting were there only to support the BU students. This was a completely student-run meeting, and the administration had no agenda for this meeting."

The students from BU who attended the meeting were on their spring break, and could not be reached for comment.

Lazar did not know why the BU police had not attended the meeting, nor did he know if any meetings that included them were scheduled for the future.