JudComm rush trials start; fewer violations reported
By Sarah Keightley
The InterFraternity Council Judicial Committee is currently holding trials for alleged violations during this year's rush. The number of trials has fallen from last year, and the general opinion of those involved is that this year's rush was "cleaner" than last year's.
According to JudComm Chairman Helen D. Shaughnessy '92, the outcomes of the trials will be recorded at the end of her term of office and have not been finalized. "It's generally sensitive stuff, and people are uptight this year."
Trials are still taking place, but Shaughnessy said the charges this year are quite minor. "Most were small misunderstandings: message, telephone and sign-in book errors," she explained. The worst charges fraternities can be accused of are actions that hurt freshmen or other houses. These include "hiding a freshman" and
serving alcohol to freshmen.
Penalties for violations
not limited to fines
When punishing fraternities for violations, JudComm "tries not to just fine the offending house since fines don't accomplish much. Fines with a sanction make the fraternities think [of their violation]," Shaughnessy said. The maximum fine per charge is $500.
During next year's rush, fraternities will have to post signs in their front doorways listing any rush violations they were found guilty of this year.
So far, Beta Theta Pi has been fined $400 for bad-mouthing Delta Upsilon and $300 for bad-mouthing Sigma Alpha Epsilon. BTP is appealing the charges. No one from BTP was available for comment.
Alpha Epsilon Pi, the only fraternity not recognized by the IFC, "had some advantages be-
cause they weren't restricted by IFC rules," Shaughnessy said.
Jonathan A. Oleinick '94, AEPi president, said that his house probably would not have run their rush much differently if they were a member of the IFC.
"We had made a large agreement with [Associate Dean for Residence and Campus Activities James R.] Tewhey, and we abided by 99 percent of the regulations. We consider ourselves a part of the MIT fraternity community, so we naturally thought the rules applied to us as well. Maybe we didn't follow the rules down to the letter, but as best as possible we kept in the spirit of things," he said.
Most of the fraternities had no opinion on this year's Judicial Committee sanctions. Others had
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David E. Gustafson '92, rush chairman for Sigma Phi Epsilon, said, "I think it was one of the cleanest rushes run in [MIT's] history. It's a good sign that the system is still working. Everyone played fair." He said that his house was not involved in the trials. "We had no major problems. Any problem was immediately handled during rush," he added.
Zeta Psi Rush Chairman Luis C. Maas '92 said that this year's sanctions are fair. ZP pressed charges against another fraternity. "We didn't win our case, but it went smoothly. Regardless of how our house fared individually, overall, [the sanctions are] fair. JudComm is on the ball."
Christopher H. Prince '92, one of Sigma Alpha Epsilon's rush chairmen, said his house found the sanctions half fair. He said SAE was not charged with anything, though they did press charges.
JudComm consists of a chairman, a six-member review council and an investigative branch with nine members. The officials are elected annually by the IFC. Each of the investigators monitors four or five houses during rush and helps the houses involved in the trials.
JudComm trials are judged by the hearing board, made up of five members of the review council and headed by the Judicial Committee Chairman.
John K. Sieh '92 of Nu Delta said that the JudComm investigators "were monitoring everything [during Rush] okay. The fact that they were around -- their availability -- was good."
Advisor to Fraternities and Independent Living Groups Neal H. Dorow said he does not have much influence over the trials. He said his main role is working with new committee members ahead of time in "experiential training." "Occasionally, [JudComm] may ask me what my sense of a situation is because of my experience," he added.