Vest and Student Leaders Announce Ban on Alcohol
Associate News Editor
Following the death of Scott S. Krueger '01 from alcohol-related causes, the presence of alcohol at MIT-affiliated events has been severely curtailed.
At a press conference on Wednesday, President Charles M. Vest announced a "prohibition on the use of any Institute funds to purchase alcohol for events where students under 21 are present."
Earlier, both the Interfraternity Council and the Dormitory Council announced voluntary bans on serving alcohol.
In addition to the prohibition on the use of Institute funds, Vest personally pledged, along with Faculty Chair Lotte Bailyn, to stop serving alcoholic beverages at all functions hosted by Vest or Bailyn.
The Sloan School of Management is also suspending alcohol at its events, according to Vest.
Vest said that the prohibition on the use of Institute funds is "total and permanent. This is a crystal clear policy statement," he said.
The new policy is designed to "affect both sides equally," Vest said. "You have to look at this as a campus-wide issue, " he said.
Ashesh P. Shah '98, president of the Dormitory Council, said that Vest's prohibition is "essentially what we've done. We did it first. We agreed to this before anything happened."
Dormcon was "working very closely with the administration" and that this new prohibition did not undermine Dormcon's voluntary ban, Shah said. "I don't see this as a one-sided policy."
The administration has not differed in their treatment of Dormcon and the IFC. "Vest has been even-handed and fair with us," Shah added.
According to Neal H. Dorow, assistant dean for Residence and Campus Activities and adviser to fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups, "The issue of [dormitory] house tax money being used to purchase alcohol has been a topic of debate among administrators for many years." Dorow added, "This incident may have brought some clarity to the subject."
Bans generally accepted in dorms
"I think we have the total support of the dorms," Shah said. "We talked it over with all of the dorm heads," he said.
Shah said that there was, however, a "small backlash" against the ban. Some people "feel that [alcohol] is not a dorm problem, not a campus wide problem."
"We don't want to force [the administration] into a situation where they create an alcohol policy we don't like," Shah said.
The ban was a "reasonable solution" as a temporary measure, said Victor P. Morales '98, president of Senior House. However, the ban is not "ultimately the best solution."
"I don't think MIT or Chuck Vest should be telling us how we should spend our funds, especially since the incident was something that didn't happen in a dorm," Morales said. "We're adults; we're responsible," he said.
The ban "kind of puts a damper on" social events, said East Campus Social Chair Samuel R. Madden '98. Madden will be holding a meeting to "get input from EC residents on the ban." He knew of at least one party which would likely be affected by the ban.
Baker House is "trying to keep most of our events going, just in a different format,"said Jennifer R. Bautista '98, president of Baker House.
Manju V. Madhavan '99, president of Burton-Conner house and vice president of Dormcon, said that there is "no dissent in my dorm."
"Initially not all of the residents understood why this action was taking place," Madhavan said. This lack of understanding led to some initial dissent.
"The ideal situation is to get this resolved and institute a proper policy," Madhavan said. "This is our show of solidarity," he said. "Our campus is being polarized."
IFCmembers support policies
Members of the IFC also seemed to be in support of the change in alcohol policy.
The IFC's decision "seems entirely appropriate, " said Joseph N. Kaye '99, a resident of Tau Epsilon Phi. The decision was a "fine gesture" and "it would surprise me if you would find feelings otherwise."
TEP would either hold scheduled social events or cancel them out of respect for Krueger, not due to the terms of the recent alcohol policy, Kaye added.
"We're following [the IFC's ban] in spirit and in letter." said Matthew R. Graham '98, president of Nu Delta.