Theta Chi Singles Out Kreisberg at HearingBy Brett Altschul
Boston University freshman Marie A. Figueredo had been drinking with two other BU students and Theta Chi member Jason F. Kreisberg '99 in Kreisberg's room prior to her treatment for alcohol poisoning on Nov. 15, according to testimony given to the Boston Licensing Board by BU student Amy B. LaPrade.
LaPrade testified Tuesday that she, Figueredo, and a third student, Elizabeth A. Foley, were served alcohol exclusively by the underage Kreisberg and were not participating in any house event.
The Boston Police had cited the fraternity for serving alcohol to a minor and serving alcohol to a minor, causing harm, two separate charges. There are also criminal actions pending, a police spokesman said.
The board will vote on any sanctions against the fraternity at its meeting on Thursday.
Jason T. Timpe '99, the president of Theta Chi, told the board that Kreisberg had been expelled from the fraternity. Theta Chi is working with MIT to find Kreisberg another place to live, he said.
LaPrade details evening's events
Although the police and the board had expected Figueredo to attend, she was not at the hearing. LaPrade testified about the events of the evening.
The three girls stopped at Theta Chi to drink before they went out dancing, LaPrade said. Kreisberg had a private room at the fraternity and a refrigerator in which he kept a bottle of vodka, she said.
The three BUstudents did not interact with any other fraternity members while they were drinking.
The four left for a club in a cab, but instead went to Figueredo's dormitory, Warren Towers, after she began feeling ill, LaPrade said.
The security guard at the dormitory entrance called the BU Police and an ambulance, she said. Previous reports citing a Bostonpolice incident report attributed the call to Figueredo's roommate.
Commissioner Joseph I. Mulligan strongly criticized the group's behavior. "It took the guard's foresight to prevent another incident," he said.
Not a house event, TC claims
Under close questioning by the fraternity's attorney, Howard Drick, LaPrade said that there was no house event that evening, and she had not seen any other member of the fraternity while they were in Kreisberg's room.
Drick then emphasized that the fraternity had in no way condoned Kreisberg's actions. "There is no connection [to Theta Chi] except that he lived in the fraternity house," he said.
However, Commissioner Ellen E. Rooney, chair of the Licensing Board, questioned Drick's reasoning. "That seems to be a pretty clear connection," she said.
House took action on alcohol
Theta Chi defended its actions surrounding the incident. Timpe said that the house had suspended all events involving alcohol following the incident. He said the fraternity should not be held responsible and should not be punished by the board.
Timpe said that the house held a lengthy meeting after the death last September of Scott S. Krueger '01. The issue of underage drinking was taken very seriously, he said.
"A lot of the people decided to get rid of their personal supplies of alcohol," Timpe said.
Timpe also emphasized that Kreisberg had not obtained the alcohol from the fraternity.
Timpe repeatedly characterized the house as being "essentially a dry fraternity" during this period.
However, he said that the fraternity leaders didn't want to come down too harshly on the brothers. The executive committee didn't want to actively police people, he said.
"We don't really have the authority to do a room-to-room search," Timpe said.
The fraternity couldn't police the actions of every individual, Mulligan said. "You can't be every brother's keeper."
However, Rooney attacked him on this point. "If you, as the executive committee, were in charge, it seems you really do have the authority," she said.
Timpe admitted that, after the incident with Figueredo, the executive committee had made certain that there was absolutely no more alcohol in the building.
When Timpe said that the fraternity leaders had trusted the members prior to the incident, Rooney criticized their actions again. "Trust was apparently misplaced," she said.
Fraternity reacted to incident
The chapter has been placed on probation by its national organization, said Assistant Dean Neal H. Dorow, who serves as the adviser to fraternities, sororities and independent living groups.
Timpe also confirmed LaPrade's earlier statements. "Most people didn't have any contact with Jason Kreisberg and the three girls, since they went straight up to his room and closed the door."
Commissioner Daniel F. Pokaski queried Timpe and Drick extensively about the fraternity's regulations. "You didn't have any rules," he told Timpe.
However, Mulligan expressed a different sentiment. "It appears to me that the fraternity acted reasonably in this case."
Robert A. Hollswasser, president of the Theta Chi alumni corporation, said that the alumni, who own the house, took the issue very seriously.
"We couldn't believe it happened," he said. "It's a threat against the existence of the house"
Hollswasser emphasized that the alumni have taken action in the past against students who abuse alcohol. Three students were removed from the fraternity two years ago after an incident, he said.