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Fraternities Vote to Change Rush Rules

By Orli G. Bahcall

The Interfraternity Council voted last week to tighten restrictions on alcohol use during rush and lay down new regulations for Thursday Night Dinners.

Fraternities must comply with current dry rush rules, but the new requirements advance the partial restriction so that no fraternity can serve alcohol to non-fraternity members at any rush function or event.

The rules were adopted with the intent that rushing freshmen should focus on other aspects of the house, said IFCRush Chair Joseph M. Lee '97. "The decision will emphasize to freshmen the importance the IFCplaces on residence choices,"he said.

While alcohol is an important part of the social program at some houses, "we feel that it is more important that you are able to make the best decision you can when deciding where to live," Lee said.

An earlier, more stringent proposal that called for the flat-out prohibition of all drink did not pass at an IFC rush meeting two weeks ago.

The major concern with the previous proposal was that keeping people of legal drinking age from drinking did not serve the main goal of "minimizing freshmen's exposure to alcohol," Lee said.

Dry rush will be enforced by IFC's judicial committee. Violations will be referred to the Judcomm chair. There will be an automatic fine based on the severity of the violation, Lee said.

"Most of [the ruling] is based on common sense and what is [and is not] in the spirit of rush."

Dinners will be less chaotic

The rules adopted for Thursday Night Dinners will restrict host groups in a number of ways. First, the number of living group representatives present on campus at the start of the evening will be limited. Similarly, the number of members from a group at a single restaurant will be limited.

In both situations, "blatant" rushing will be prohibited, Lee said. Groups will also be required to return from dinner before 11 p.m.

Blatant rushing refers more generally to those activities that "go against the spirit of R/O," Lee said.

The major concern behind the administration and R/OCommittee over last year's Thursday Night dinners was that "the IFC is taking steps to address the issue of what happened last year, especially the mob scene and flagrant rushing," Lee said.

"Rush chairs were very receptive and feel that these are positive steps in making R/O better for the freshmen."

The rule limiting the number of IFCliving group representatives will also benefit the freshmen. "In the past, it was 80 percent IFCgroups at the dinners - now it will be more representative and give the freshmen a broader view of the different groups at MIT."

A Greek presence at the dinners benefits the freshmen in showing "not just the IFC people, but a big cross-section of MIT," Lee said.

"Also, in the spirit of rush, no house will have an advantage of having more people there," Lee said.

Students favor Dinners event

Despite the concern of IFC, some students did not seem to favor the new restrictive legislation.

Dorm resident Shounak Lahiri '96 felt Thursday Night Dinners are a good idea. "I never felt it was a rush event. I don't think [the restrictions] will make a difference."

Susan Lee '96 appreciated the dinners as a chance to meet with clubs and other non-living groups. "If you were interested in a certain group, you could kind of get to know the people better," she said.

With regard to illicit rushing, Lee did not feel threatened. "I know some people who were rushed by frats [while at Thursday Night Dinners] even though they weren't supposed to. I thought that was kind of bad, but I don't think that is the majority" of people, Lee said.

The IFCsubmitted a petition of 700 signatures that protested the abolishing of Thursday night dinners to the R/O Committee.

The overall feeling was that if "upperclassmen did not have the chance to meet the freshmen before rush, it would make rush even more intense."

Thursday Night Dinners are important in providing freshmen with a "more well-rounded experience," and time for them to get to know upperclassmen, Lee said.

It would also be very hard if the R/OCommittee comes up with a big event for the IFCto enforce, Lee said.

"The idea behind the petition was that IFC has a say into what is going to happen during next year's R/O, instead of the administration and R/O coming up with the whole thing,"Lee said.

The R/OCommittee agreed to a meeting with student groups, as a result of the petition, Lee said.

Representatives of the Association of Student Activities and Dormitory Council were also present at the meeting.

A. Arif Husain contributed to the reporting of this story.