AEPi Claims Innocence
We, the brothers and pledges of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, would like to respond to Friday's article, "IFC Rush Fines Led by LCA, AEPi" [Sept. 23]. We are currently appealing our convictions, and we are confident that they will be overturned. However, even if we are cleared, we worry that our reputation will remain damaged unless we respond to the MIT community immediately.
All of the convictions stem from our comedy event. On Saturday, Aug. 27, a comedian performed at our house, beginning at 10:15 p.m. Before the show, a brother asked each freshman, "If someone wants to talk to you during the show, would you like to be interrupted?" We recorded the responses on a list that we kept at the front desk.
When a "camper" (a representative of one fraternity wanting to speak to a freshman who is at a different fraternity) arrived, we checked the names of the requested freshmen against our list. If a freshman had asked to speak with people, we got him immediately. If the freshman hadn't wanted to be disturbed, we explained to the camper, "They are in a show right now, and they have requested not to be interrupted. If you want, we can get them for you now. If you'd rather wait, the show should end around 11:45 p.m." All of the campers elected to wait.
The Interfraternity Council rules state that a freshman must be presented to a camper within 15 minutes of a camper's arrival at a fraternity or independent living group. However, we felt that by electing to wait until after the show, the campers were waiving their right to see freshmen within 15 minutes. After rush, the campers' fraternities charged us for withholding the freshmen they had asked not to see.
Our policy was meant to allow freshmen to tell campers if they wanted to see the entire show, and to allow campers the opportunity to know if a freshman didn't want to be disturbed. We thought it was fair, and we thought it was polite. We certainly didn't want to be disturbed. We thought it was fair, and we thought it was polite. We certainly didn't want to deprive the campers of their opportunity to see freshmen. So, every 15 minutes, a member of our fraternity went to the campers and asked if they wanted to see the freshmen. Each time, the campers verbally declined the chance. While the campers were waiting, representatives of our house talked with them and on occasion got them sodas. At one point, a freshman was requested and we got him immediately, even though this freshmen had requested no interruptions.
Unfortunately, the comedian performed 15 minutes longer than we had anticipated. At around midnight, the campers became restless. So again a member of our fraternity offered to get the freshmen. One of the campers finally stated that he didn't want us to get the freshmen because he thought his fraternity would look like jerks. At that point, the AEPi brother offered to pull the freshmen and explain to each freshman that they had been interrupted because our show exceeded its expected length and that it was our fault. The campers agreed and we immediately went to present the freshmen to the campers.
We were upset when we learned that we were being charged with violations for the first time in our history. We didn't know what to expect at the trial, but we were pleased when our witnesses confirmed our assertions and the campers corroborated our story. When one of the campers was asked if he thought AEPi acted maliciously, he said that we were absolutely not malicious. After the trial, we felt that we had proved our innocence.
Instead, we were informed that we were found guilty on three counts. We also learned that we had to pay the $500 maximum fine for each count. The convictions and the fines shocked all of the members of AEPi and several impartial observers. Since we had no previous violations, and no malicious intent, we felt we were unlikely candidates for the maximum fines. We see no justification for our obscene fines.
We are left confused and upset. We are currently working to rectify the situation with the IFC through an appeals process. Yet we hope that this letter will help clear our name and reputation in the MIT community. We run an honest rush. We always have, and we plan to continue that policy. Our fines come from a questionable interpretation of a rule, not an attempt to be unfair. If you have any questions about the case, ask a brother or pledge of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. We will be happy to clarify the situation further.
Douglas Schreiber '95
President of Alpha Epsilon Pi