SAE Santioned by ODSA
By Andrea Lamberti
The Office of the Dean for Student Affairs has imposed sanctions on the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity for providing alcohol to minors at a Dec. 8 Christmas party. Associate Dean for Student Affairs James R. Tewhey informed the fraternity of the sanctions in a letter last Friday.
The incident came to the attention of the Dean's Office after an MIT sophomore filed charges of rape against Thomas M. Fahy '91, a member of SAE, the day after the party.
"It has been determined and acknowledged by the fraternity that SAE fraternity allowed minors to consume alcohol that was provided by the fraternity at a social event" the night of Dec. 8, Tewhey wrote in the letter.
As a result of the incident, the fraternity will be on probation until Sept. 1, 1992, the letter states.
"During the time the fraternity is on probation, alcohol shall not be served or consumed at any social event in which the organization is involved," Tewhey wrote in the letter.
The chapter will also "arrange to implement and participate in educational programs each semester that cover the subject of date and acquaintance rape and alcohol awareness" during the probation period, the letter states.
"The same or similar" educational programs on acquaintance rape "shall become a regular, mandatory part of the chapter's pledge education program," Tewhey wrote in the letter.
The sanction restricting alcohol use applies to open and closed parties, Advisor to Fraternities and Independent Living Groups Neal H. Dorow said. But it does not preclude members of the fraternity who are over 21 from consuming alcohol in the house. "We're not demanding that the house be dry," he said.
The sanctions "address what the fraternity was at fault for, which was providing alcohol to minors. What happened as a result, the alleged rape, is being dealt with through [other channels]," Dorow said.
SAE President Mark E. Lundstrom '91 said, "We intend to comply with the sanctions."
The Dean's Office expects SAE to comply with terms set by the sanctions, Dorow said. "If they choose not to, that would be cause for further action from the Dean's Office."
The fraternity will be reviewed in January 1992, and based on the chapter's conduct of the chapter, the chapter could either "see relief," or the sanctions might be amended at that time, Dorow said.
Fraternity went dry
The alleged victim attended the SAE party with another member of the fraternity, who was not Fahy. Both she and her date became very drunk at the party, a close friend of the woman said in January.
In a recent interview, Fahy's lawyer, Bruce McDonald, disputed the claim that the alleged victim was drunk.
After interviewing more than 10 male and female witnesses at the party, McDonald said, "The woman wasn't drunk -- [she] appeared to be aware of her surroundings, was talking to people, wasn't stumbling, was carrying on conversations with people. [She] was obnoxious, [she] was flirting with numerous males at the party, and Tom Fahy was one of them, much to his regret."
The next day, the "victim reported the incident to MIT police, who then notified the Boston Police Sexual Assault Unit," according to a report from the Boston Police.
After charges had been filed, the fraternity "made it a dry house," Lundstrom said.
"We recognized that there were some serious allegations. We thought, it's be in our best interest to make it a dry house," Lundstrom said.
One under-age student present at the party agreed that alcohol was easy to obtain. "No one checked IDs, no one did anything. It was a free for all -- there was so much alcohol, it was pathetic."
Lundstrom would not comment on any aspect of the party, or the allegations of rape, because of the pending legal action.
Fahy is scheduled for a hearing in Boston Municipal Court on Feb. 15, according to the Boston Police report.
IFC to review
Because the Dean's Office has imposed sanctions on SAE, the Interfraternity Council will not take any action against them, IFC President Holly L. Simpson '92 said.
But the Dec. 8 incident will "certainly . . . affect the way people view the alcohol policy, and maybe people will realize that there need to be some more positive changes on that," she said.
An ad hoc IFC committee will review the IFC alcohol policy this semester, Simpson said. "This is something . . . that was put in motion before this happened at SAE."
The review was prompted by the changing national perception of fraternities, and because the Institute "is in the process of revising their alcohol policy, and we thought ours probably needs to be updated," Simpson said. Additionally, a revised IFC policy would be more preventative, she said.
A revised policy would probably be geared toward prevention of alcohol-related incidents instead of punishment after the fact, Simpson said.
Another aim of a revised policy would be to "have a policy that says that we're a little responsible, says that we can regulate ourselves," Simpson said.