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Computer Thefts Lead to Two Expulsions: 6: 6

By Brian Rosenberg
editor in chief
____The theft of computer equipment worth over $70,000 led to the expulsion of two students last spring. Garret M. Moose '91 and John S. Fortunato '91 were expelled after Campus Police linked them to the missing equipment. Campus Police also linked a third student, Justin M. Glotfelty '92, to the thefts, but Glotfelty was not expelled.

No criminal charges were brought against the students.

Moose said he and Fortunato were expelled with the option of petitioning for re-admission after June 1, 1995. The two were not allowed to complete their classes.

All three students were members of Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji), where some of the stolen equipment was installed. In response to the case, the national organization of Fiji conducted a membership review and created a set of objectives for a chapter reorganization. Under these objectives, the chapter is being supervised by local alumni and national representatives, according to Robert E. Baney III, a Fiji national representative.

MIT placed the chapter on a three-year probation with no restrictions.

Associate Dean for Student Affairs James R. Tewhey would not comment on why punishments of varying degree were meted out, but said it would be a "a reasonable conclusion to draw" that the expelled students had prior offenses or were on probation when they were linked to the thefts.

Computers stolen from three labs

The three were accused of stealing computers from the Technology Laboratory for Advanced Composites (TELAC), the Space Engineering Research Center (SERC) and a mechanical engineering laboratory in Building 3, according to the Campus Police. Nearly all the stolen equipment was owned by MIT, though some was federally owned.

Each of the three laboratories lost approximately $15,000 in Macintosh and related equipment. The thefts occurred between August 1990 and January 1991.

Campus Police detectives had been investigating the thefts since they began. The investigation was stepped up last January when detectives were tipped off by an informant, who wished to remain outside the investigation. This request contributed to the Campus Police's decision not to press charges, said Campus Police Chief Anne P. Glavin.

An investigation into possible links between these thefts and others on campus, possibly involving other students, "turned out to be a dead end," said Campus Police Detective Eugene H. Salois this week.

National required interviews, set up long-term goals

The national organization interviewed every member and asked them to commit or decline to commit to a set of expectations, with the stipulation that none of the brothers would be involved in any thefts in the future, according to Baney.

During the interviews, each brother was asked he knew about the stolen equipment, and if so, why he did not act on that knowledge. Interviews also focused on members' general attitude and commitment toward the fraternity, Baney said.

In addition to the interviews, a Board of Control was set up to provide "supervisory and disciplinary authority over the chapter," Baney said. The board is made up of both MIT and non-MIT fraternity alumni. The chapter was required to submit a plan outlining how it would be operated in the future.