Board Hears Complaint against DTDBy Sam Hartman
The Interfraternity Council Judicial Committee placed the fraternity Delta Tau Delta on community relations probation after neighbors' complaints prompted a hearing before the Boston Licensing Board, according to IFC Judcomm chair Daniel P. Dunn '94.
The licensing board, which has the power to revoke DTD's lodging license, decided to defer its decision until after it heard from Judcomm about the probation, Dunn said. The probation was decided at a meeting on Dec. 8, and the licensing board has been mailed a letter informing them of the decision, he said.
While the probation does not include any fines, if the fraternity is found guilty of a similar violation in the next year, serious penalties would be levied, Dunn said. Also, DTD is required to devote 20 to 40 hours to a community service project that would benefit their neighborhood, Dunn said.
The complaints stemmed from incidents that took place around the time of rush, according to Neal H. Dorow, assistant dean and adviser to fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups. The complaints were about excessively loud parties, Dorow said.
Some of the complaints "are kind of ridiculous, like parties that go from Thursday night to Sunday morning," according to DTD President Jason T. Mueller '95. "Things like that are exaggerated."
"We usually deal with the complaints personally," Mueller said. "We know that when a neighbor calls, we have to deal with them."
However, Mueller said that a new city council member decided to forward the complaints he received to the Boston Licensing Board instead of trying to deal directly with DTD.
The DTD house is located on Beacon Street in the Back Bay area of Boston.
DTD could have lost house
In addition to placing the fraternity on community relations probation until December 1995, Judcomm required DTD to establish procedures to prevent similar problems in the future, Dunn said. "They have to have a third bouncer at the door during parties," he said. "They have to have a phone system during parties so that if there is a complaint, they are sure to hear it."
"What the Delts did wasn't that offensive," Dunn said. "It is behavior that violates the [IFC community relations] bylaws and irritates the neighbors and certainly should not occur, but it was for a very short period of time and they have taken responsible actions to correct their mistakes."
The consequences of these complaints could have been serious because they were brought before the licensing board, Dorow said. "The licensing board issues lodging house licenses on behalf of the city," he said. Every fraternity must have a license to house students.
"Any time you get called before the licensing board, they are questioning your fitness to operate" the house, Dorow said.
The licensing board has very limited options to deal with complaints, Dorow said. "They can do nothing or they can suspend or revoke the license, but in between, their options are very limited."
In this case, Dunn thinks any action is unlikely.
The licensing board is waiting for the Judcomm decision before deciding what to do, Dunn said.
Community relations beeper
If a fraternity in the Back Bay or along Beacon Street lost their lodging license, they could not apply for a new license in the future, Dorow said. Those areas of Boston are zoned in such a way that new lodging houses are not allowed.
"We would rather avoid those situations," Dorow said. "That's why the IFC has community relations bylaws that fraternities need to follow. If the fraternities can't be good neighbors, the others who live there aren't going to let them stay there."
The DTD incident has accelerated IFC plans to set up a response point for community relations complaints, Dunn said. "IFC will have a beeper and the number will be given out to neighbors [of fraternities] in Back Bay," he said. An IFC or Judcomm representative will respond to pages at all times, he said.