The Tech received a version of the following letter addressed to a number of administrators, including President Charles M. Vest.
I urge you to consider that the proposed faculty resolution to require all freshmen to live in on-campus dormitories, if put in force, would ultimately fail to address the core issue at hand: whether sufficient guidance is provided by undergraduates and other members of the MIT community in the responsible use of alcohol. The fallacy in the proposed plan is the assumption that students living in dormitories are somehow more controllable and thus safer from the perils of alcohol abuse.
The Interfraternity Council, in conjunction with the Dormitory Council, should draft and implement a clear program on alcohol education to incoming freshmen, preferably taught and enforced by the upperclassmen of each living group. Components of this program should include instruction on the potential dangers of alcohol, discussed in a rational way (i.e. not "alcohol is bad", but more along the lines of what responsible alcohol use means.)
The second component of this program is to invite the faculty to take a central role in the program, by becoming more involved in the social aspects of all of the living groups at MIT. It seems to me that the faculty would be more than happy to be given the opportunity to personally ensure that the new arrivals to this community are given proper guidance in such an important issue.
Ultimately, we should recognize that the success of this approach will depend on the buy-in of the upperclassmen in actually running the education program as well as leading by example. Therefore, I would urge independent living group members in particular to pay more than just lip-service to the importance of this program; they must embrace it and believe that it is vital to the continued survival of the ILGs. It is only by taking responsibility for their freshmen that the ILGs can show the administration that they have the maturity to be allowed to continue the current way of life.
Edward C. Hahn '90