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Large Parties Will Have Metal Detectors

By Stacey E. Blau
Associate News Editor

Students attending MIT-sponsored events with more than 250 people will soon be required to pass a metal detector test before being allowed admittance, according to Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin.

Tightened security at parties comes in response to a string of violent incidents over the past few years, including the 1987 murder of a Northeastern University student, a 1989 shooting in the Kresge Auditorium parking lot, two 1991 stabbings in the Student Center, and a 1992 stabbing at Delta Kappa Epsilon, Glavin said.

The use of metal detectors "is aimed at a specific type of party: Events that are over 250 people that have the capacity to attract people not in the MIT community," Glavin said.

Metal detectors may also be used at events where alcohol will be served and where a live band will be present, according to the final draft of the Guidelines for the Use of Metal Detectors at MIT Student Parties.

Under the guidelines, concerned student groups will be able to request metal detectors for any events that are not required to have them.

Detail officers will also be required to be present at the specified events, Glavin said. The officers will oversee the screening of students with the metal detectors and will eject students who are carrying weapons or who refuse to clear the detector, she said. Students from the organization sponsoring the event will also be responsible for screening guests, Glavin said.

MIT plans to purchase enough equipment to channel people through the detectors quickly, according to Margaret A. Jablonski, associate dean for Residence and Campus Activities.

In the meantime, MIT will be renting equipment for three upcoming events: a dance sponsored by Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgenders and Friends, a Chocolate City event, and the annual Spring Concert. Metal detectors were already used at a Kappa Alpha Psi event in Walker Memorial.

The idea of using metal detectors is by no means recent. Plans have been in the works since the November 1992 DKE stabbing, Glavin said. Glavin hopes that the guidelines will go into effect next fall.

Student response mixed

Organizers of student events have asked the Campus Police for metal detectors in the past, according to Glavin. Many students want "to feel safe from the threat of guns and knives," she said.

Some students, however, have been apprehensive about the use of metal detectors. "They didn't know at what type of parties [the detectors] would be used," Glavin said.

"I have reservations and questions" about using the detectors "at the GAMIT dance and in general," said Teresa W. Lau '95, general coordinator for GAMIT.

"I'm wondering what the motivation for all this is," Lau said, referring to the fact that the organizations chosen for testing the detectors, Chocolate City and KAPsi, are historically black organizations and that GAMIT represents homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students.

"I'm sure there are plenty of other parties" that meet the conditions of having the requisite number of students, including non-MIT students, and are serving alcohol and charging for admission at the door, Lau said. "It would seem that having a fraternity party as a pilot would make sense considering the DKE stabbing," she said.

According to Assistant Dean for RCA Susan D. Allen, GAMIT, Chocolate City, and KAPsi were selected because their respective events met the conditions of alcohol availability, number of guests, and presence of non-MIT students and provided different locations at which to test the metal detectors.

Chocolate City and KAPsi had previously requested metal detectors at their events, Allen said.

"We were very careful about that [perception]," Allen said in response to Lau's suggestion.