Editorial- Do not recognize AEPi
During the past few weeks, the Interfraternity Council has considered granting preliminary recognition to the reorganized chapter of the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi. Such recognition would allow AEPi to conduct rush activities during Residence/Orientation Week and house freshmen in its two houses in Back Bay Boston. In short, recognition would once again legitimize AEPi at MIT.
We strongly urge the IFC to deny AEPi recognition. The reasons are simple and clear: Recognition of an organization that does not hesitate to disturb and eject its members for largely discriminatory reasons runs contrary to the principles of both the IFC and the Institute as a whole. No less important is the insult such recognition would add to the injury already suffered by former AEPi members.
When AEPi national officials interviewed members of the Mu Tau chapter last January, they cited insurance policy violations and the theft of a sign from an Ohio college. It seems likely, however, that the real motivation for the national's investigation and subsequent ejection of 45 the chapter's 55 members was religious. AEPi brothers interviewed during the investigation said the interviews focused on the Jewish principles of AEPi and the chapter's Jewish character, rather than on the alleged violations.
Regardless of its motivation, AEPi's heavy-handed dismantling of the MIT chapter was unnecessarily harsh. Even MIT withdrew recognition of AEPi due to the national's treatment of the MIT chapter. The charges brought against Mu Tau -- use of a keg during initiation, postering for a party, and theft of a sign -- are fairly minor. Disciplining the members who were directly involved in the theft or the decision to purchase a keg would have served as sufficient deterrent against similar actions in the future.
Reaccepting AEPi will send the national organization the signal that the Institute condones treating MIT students disrespectfully. In addition, the national organizations of other fraternities will feel free to reorganize their chapters in similar fashion. In fact, one wonders what would prevent AEPi national from dismantling another MIT chapter some time in the future.
Members of AEPi and the Dean's Office have advanced several arguments in favor of recognizing AEPi: The current members of AEPi, they say, should not be punished for an incident they had nothing to do with, and they should not be prevented from forming their own fraternity or joining an existing one. Refusing to recognize AEPi in no way stops those who want a Jewish fraternity on campus from starting a chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon or Sigma Alpha Mu, both well-established national Jewish fraternities.
Supporters add that joining AEPi carries the additional advantages of immediate access to housing in the Back Bay and an existing network of Mu Tau alumni. The former advantage may seem reasonable, but it is actually a reason not to allow AEPi to rejoin the MIT community. For members of the original chapter, the immediate relocation of other MIT students into their former home would be unfair and spiteful. Sensitivity to the expelled members' feelings requires that no MIT students move into their residence, now occupied by the Boston University chapter of AEPi.
When the former AEPi brothers, now members of Delta Pi, graduate, the insult done by the reestablishment of an AEPi chapter at MIT will begin to fade. What happens then is open to debate. But for now, the choice is clear: Do not recognize the Mu Tau chapter of AEPi.