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State Officials Block Keg Sale at Zeta Psi


Stacey E. Blau -- The Tech
Three students sit outside of Zeta Psi Friday while state officials and campus police officers stop the sale of a keg to an underage pledge.

By David D. Hsu
News Editor

MIT banned all alcohol at Zeta Psi after four underage members of the fraternity were caught on Friday by the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission when allegedly trying to purchase a keg of beer.

The ABCC followed a Blanchard's Liquor truck which stopped at ZP to deliver one keg of beer and to pick up seven empty kegs. Francis R. Godwin '01, age 19, showed fake identification to receive the keg.

Campus Police and Cambridge Police were on hand to assist the ABCC.

The delivery occurred less than two weeks after Phi Gamma Delta pledge Scott S. Krueger '01 died of alcohol poisoning and less than 24 hours after the Interfraternity Council held a meeting discussing alcohol policy.

The ABCC said they will bring a complaint of fake identification and underage purchase of alcohol against Godwin and will bring complaints of underage possession against three students who were assisting in the return of the empty kegs.

The students were not charged at the time and were allowed back into ZP. The case was referred to the Campus Police and Middlesex District Attorney Thomas F. Reilly's office, according to The Boston Globe.

Using fake identification to buy alcohol is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $200 and/or three months in prison. Underage purchase of alcohol carries up to a $300 fine. Underage possession of alcohol is punishable by a fine of up to $150.

The owner of Blanchard's Liquor could not be reached for comment.

Institute bans alcohol at Zeta Psi

At a news conference on Saturday, Rosalind H. Williams, dean of students and undergraduate education, announced that MITis banning all alcohol at ZP.

"If the allegations concerning this incident are true, the Zeta Psi fraternity has violated its responsibility as an organization in allowing underage persons to possess alcoholic beverages in the house," Williams said. "We are therefore suspending all possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages in the Zeta Psi fraternity pending the outcome of our internal investigation and proceedings."

The results of the investigation "may lead to disciplinary proceedings by [the Dean's Office] against the fraternity," Williams said. "In order to have the status of MIT-approved housing units, our fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups agree to comply with Institute standards and rules of conduct."

IFC could suspend ZP

While MITdid not suspend ZP, the IFC has a motion to suspend the fraternity, said IFCPresident Iddo Gilon '98.

The IFC had voted unanimously to ban alcohol at all formal events but had not banned the private consumption of alcohol. However, Gilon said that the fraternity violated IFCpolicy by not preventing the underage purchase of alcohol.

"The judgment exercised was very poor," Gilon said.

Despite the ZPincident, the enforceability of the current IFC ban is fine, Gilon said. There have not been any formal events with alcohol.

Controlling individuals is more difficult, Gilon said. If local law enforcement cannot do so, then the IFC also cannot do so.

"This event goes further to show that everyone needs to be responsible," Gilon said. A number of people felt scrutiny would gradually subside, but that did not happen.

This is a "very volatile situation where we need to be careful on our personal conduct," Gilon said.

The IFC ban on alcohol at formal events will not be lifted until the IFCcan see that such incidents can be prevented, Gilon said.

The IFCneeds to be in a very strong position when it knows it may proceed with business as usual, Gilon said. "Business as usual" also will have to change if the IFC is to maintain any integrity, he said.

ZP assumes responsibility

"We're pretty embarrassed," said Bob Broderick '99, a ZP fraternity officer who was not one of the four students involved in the purchase. "It was immature of us to do this."

There was no ZP party scheduled for that weekend and the keg purchase had not been sanctioned by the fraternity, Broderick said. The seven empty kegs being returned to Blanchard's had been accumulated over the course of about one month.

The fraternity is considering a move to voluntarily become substance-free for some period of time, perhaps permanently, Broderick said.