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Alum Sues Institute Over Alcohol Files

By Frank Dabek
Associate News Editor

J. Paul Kirby '92, former Undergraduate Association president, has filed a lawsuit against the Institute, the UA, and Dedric A. Carter '98 in his position as UA president. In the lawsuit, Kirby seeks the release of several documents from UA files.

Kirby alleges that shortly after the death of Scott S. Krueger '01, around Oct. 3, Carter and he had agreed to exchange UA documents relating to MIT's alcohol policy between 1990 to 1991. During this time, Kirby chaired a subcommittee on alcohol policy which produced a report on alcohol. The documents in question are notes and memoranda used in the creation of that report.

Carter "reneged on his obligation to provide documents," Kirby said. Kirby brought the lawsuit because "a promise was broken," he said.

Kirby to publicize documents

Carter acknowledged that he had agreed to exchange documents with Kirby for use in Kirby's personal archives. When Kirby revealed that he wished to make the documents public outside of MIT, however, Carter refused to release the documents. "I couldn't, in good conscience, let him walk out of the office with the documents," Carter said.

Carter said that following his refusal of Kirby's request, Kirby phoned both his lawyer and the homicide division of the Boston Police Department.

Thomas R. Henneberry, director of insurance and legal affairs for MIT, said that the Institute has yet to be served with the suit. Carter also said that he has yet to be served. Carter plans to yield to MIT's legal counsel for his defense.

Henneberry, however, commented on Carter's ability to release the documents in question. "Dedric, as president of the UA, operates within the structure of MIT," Henneberry said. Carter "does not, personally, have authority to distribute MIT documents," he said.

Carter questions his authority

Carter said that the "documents are under the care of the UA" and thus "can be used on campus within the umbrella of MIT." Outside of MIT, however, Carter said that the UA does not have the authority to release MIT documents.

Kirby, however, said "I can't imagine that the leader of the student government would not have access" to the documents. He said that during his term as UA president he felt free to distribute documents of the UA as he wished.

Kirby is seeking the documents in order to make them public, he said. "[I] want other schools to learn from MIT's lesson," he said. Also, Kirby wants "the MIT community to learn something about its past," he said. Any undergraduate should have rights to see these documents, he said.

Kirby said that he did not know if the documents would have any relevance to criminal charges. The "[District Attorney's office] is perfectly capable of conducting its own investigation," he said. Kirby also noted that the DA had already subpoenaed some documents.

Kirby called the documents "very damaging". The documents "show that MIT really knew the exact state of affairs on alcohol on campus and chose to do nothing," Kirby said.

Carter, however, said that Kirby mentioned on the day of the proposed exchange that the documents might involve the criminal liability of MIT.