UA condemns AEPi, approves referenda
By Reuven M. Lerner
The Undergraduate Association Council passed a resolution on Thursday which officially condemns "the expulsion of 45 MIT students from Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity" and "discourage[s] MIT students from joining with AEPi at this time." [See page 7 for text of resolution.]
In addition, the council changed the wording of two of the three referenda for this week's special election, approved a new budget, and elected new officers.
The AEPi resolution, which passed by a vote of 20-3-7, was introduced to the council by Sean R. Findlay '90 and Christopher C. Walton '90, two of the fraternity's former members. While they admitted to having kept an empty beer keg in the house, that pledges had stolen street signs, and that they had postered for one of their parties, they said the national's "actions were more than was necessary."
Their greatest criticism focused on interviews the national conducted immediately preceding the reorganization. Walton said the national had promised "any brother willing to conform to the [Fraternity Insurance Purchasing Group] policy, which we had violated, would be welcomed back to the chapter." He noted that only 20 of the 55 brothers discussed the violations in their interviews, and that the national had only raised the issue in half of those.
Walton also noted that of the 10 brothers who were asked to return, two were the social chairmen who had postered for the party, and one was the director of the pledge program which had included stealing the street signs.
"They came in with the assumption they were going to kick people out," Findlay said.
When offered a chance to respond to the charges, Steven H. Baden '92, who was recently elected lieutenant master of of the reorganized chapter, declined comment, saying that "for us to make a presentation at this time would very possibly have us saying things we're not sure we would agree with the next minute. We're undecided as to how we stand."
Newly elected AEPi Scribe David J. Goldstone G explained the new chapter's silence by pointing out that "national is cognizant of the possibility of a lawsuit by those [ousted] brothers. . . . National's lawyers have told them, `don't say anything.' "
Interfraternity Council President Miles Arnone '91 explained that, according to the national, "the sole purpose for the reorganization was alcohol issues." He noted that "they have made many such reorganizations at other chapters."
Council approves final
The council also approved changes in two of the three referenda being voted on in a two-day special election that began yesterday.
The first question asks if MIT should "disassociate from" the Reserve Officer Training Corps if the program does not stop "discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation."
A previous version, which described the policy as "discrimination against homosexuals," was rejected as "too clinical." The final draft was approved by a vote of 36-0-4.
A second referendum, identical to one posed in 1986, asks if "the MIT Corporation [should] divest all its holdings in firms doing business in or lending to South Africa."
The question originally asked if MIT should reinvest such holdings "in an alternative portfolio of comparable worth," but was changed in part because President Paul E. Gray '54 said in a letter to UA President Manish Bapna '91 that no such portfolios existed, and thus the question was not valid.
UAC Floor Leader Jonathan J. Lee '93 yesterday rejected accusations that the council had simply followed Gray's lead on the issue. He called the letter "logical and reasonable," and noted that UAC members might have raised the issue themselves.
Bapna asked, "If he [Gray] writes me a letter telling me he won't accept such a question, how valid is it to poll under-graduates?"
A motion by UAC Executive Committee member Christine M. Coffey '93 to change the wording from "doing business in" to "doing business with" South Africa was rejected by the council. Similarly, a motion to remove the phrase "or lending to" from the question was voted down. The question was approved by a vote of 30-2-4.
The third question asks if "students who protest in a peaceful, non-violent and non-threatening manner" should be arrested, even if they "violate MIT rules or policy" while doing so. None of the council members objected to the proposed wording, which had been approved at a previous meeting.
New budget and UAC
The council also approved its budget for the 1991 fiscal year. With few exceptions, the budget proposed by UA Vice President Colleen M. Schwingel '92 was approved by the council.
The greatest points of contention were a $700 UAC weekend meeting on Thompson's Island and T-shirts for council members. The council rejected both of these ideas, and placed the money into a "Special Projects" fund.
Electing the new floor leader, who holds the third-highest-ranking position in the UA, was another point on the agenda. Lee, who had filled the position since the February resignation of Rahul R. Shah '92, will hold the position until May 1991.
The UAC also elected Arnone and Denise A. Purdie '92 to six-month terms on its executive board.
A three-part statement condemning the arrests of students on April 6 and 9 was withdrawn from consideration, in part because council members said it was "untimely" and "late." In addition, the third part of the statement demanded that charges against those arrested be dropped, an action which Cambridge District Court had already taken on April 30.