RCA Suspends FratBy Sarah Y. Keightley
Editor in Chief
Kappa Alpha Psi, a black fraternity, was put on suspension by the Residence and Campus Activities office, following a hazing incident that took place last spring.
Five students were involved in the activity, according to Associate Dean Margaret A. Jablonski.
It is not entirely clear what action the national organization is going to take, Jablonski said.
Early last April the Campus Police discovered a group of students in the basement of Building 9 during regular rounds, Jablonski said. The officers were concerned that the students' activity could be classified as hazing, Jablonski said.
"The hazing involved both mental and physical activity," Jablonski said.
Because of this incident, five individuals - four from MIT and one from Harvard - appeared in Cambridge District Court for violating a Massachusetts state law on hazing, Jablonski said.
"At that point we suspended the chapter pending the outcome of an [MIT] investigation and proceedings externally," Jablonski said. The MIT investigation was made by the Campus Police and the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs, Jablonski said.
The chapter of KAPsi consists of 13 members, with students from MIT, Harvard University, and Tufts University, according to member Berdell Knowles Jr. '94. Knowles said that he was not involved in the incident.
The group will be on suspension until it satisfies the requirements outlined in an administrative agreement, which the chapter developed with Jablonski this fall. Being under suspension means that the group cannot use MIT facilities or access money that may be held by the Institute, Jablonski said.
But exceptions can be made, Jablonski said. For example, Jablonski allowed KAPsi to use funds for their step show in November since the event was primarily a fund-raiser. Still, the group cannot hold social activities until members have completed their agreement, she said.
KAPsi must complete activities
In court, the five students were found responsible and were required to do community service which was completed over the summer, Jablonski said. The case was then dismissed, she said. Starting in October, Jablonski started to meet with the group and created the administrative agreement with them.
As part of the agreement, KAPsi is on suspension until the members complete several activities. "All the activities were developed jointly between us and the group to strengthen the chapter, improve their leadership, and help them to come back strong and effective," Jablonski said.
"The incident only involved a few members of the chapter, but it made the entire chapter realize that what the individuals involved believed was horseplay among members conflicted with MIT policies governing the conduct of student organization," according to a statement from the chapter ["Fraternity Apologizes for Hazing Incident," page 4].
The statement fulfills one of the chapter's requirements, which is to publicize the incident.
In addition, the administrative agreement will help the chapter "implement some changes that will help us going forward with a better understanding of student organization guidelines," according to the statement.
Other points that need to be met include finding two faculty or staff members to be chapter advisers for the group, reviewing MIT guidelines, signing anti-hazing statements, and providing leadership training seminars for the chapter and other organizations.
Jablonski said that the group has handled the case responsibly because the members have accepted responsibility for the incident and are trying to rebuild the chapter, even while it is under suspension.