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BTP Partiers Stage Rooftop Beer Attack on Police; House Now Dry

BySusan Buchman

In the latest in a series of alcohol related incidents at MIT fraternities, Boston University police officers were pelted with beer cans thrown from the roof of Beta Theta Pi. As a result of the incident, BTP will be alcohol free until 1999 and faces other sanctions.

According to the Boston University Police Department report from the July 17 incident, "Police Officer [James] Barry was pelted with glass/cans of beer as he exited his cruiser ascending the rear fire exit stairs in pursuit of the offenders." Boston University police, who were later assisted by the Boston Police Department, made their way to the top of the roof where they discovered two kegs and a keg tap.

According to the Boston Police incident report, "further investigation in a common room in the building revealed two City of Boston parking meters, one bong pipe, and one double edged knife which were seized as contraband. Police assisted approximately 50 individuals in leaving the roof area of 119 Bay State and through the house to the street below."

BTP pleads guilty to IFC charges

The Interfraternity Council Judicial Committee charged BTP with three violations of the IFC policy on risk management. BTP plead guilty to all the charges and focused on demonstrating that the fraternity brothers had been unaware of the party and were taking steps to prevent further such incidents.

Robert N. Tunick '99, a representative from the fraternity, said "we acknowledge that a premise control issue exists" but insisted that "no Betas were present, no Betas purchased or consumed alcohol."

The BPD report states, however, that "Officer Graf of the BUPD wa able to identify one James Burnell Williams as the individual who had purchased the beer. Williams had admitted such to the officer during the investigation." Williams '99 is a member of BTP.

The representatives of the fraternity also testified that it was not unreasonable that none of the brothers had realized the summer residents were throwing a party on the roof deck. Brothers cited numerous reasons for being unaware of the party until soon before the police arrived, ranging from loud music in their rooms to being in the fraternity's annex.

Fraternity sanctioned

Following the guilty plea, the committee ruled that BTP must be completely alcohol free on all its property until September 7, 1999. In addition, one third of the summer residents next year must be members of the fraternity.

At least ninety percent of the members and pledges of BTP must perform 30 hours of community service by December 19. The fraternity was also levied a fine of $1,000.

Erv Johnson, Director of Communications for BTP's national organization, said that the national fraternity suspended BTP's charter for a year on July 30. "When we suspend [a chapter], the chapter has no inherent authority to act as a chapter; we turn everything over to the alumni."

The national fraternity will also convene a review board to determine the future status of the chapter.

Johnson said that he expects the chapter to cooperate fully with the Institute and the IFC. The BTP national has required that the chapter attend alcohol awareness programs, participate in TIPS training by November 1, and meet MIT's requirements for alcohol certification.

MIT has also taken action against the fraternity, suspending them from holding any social events or activities, including rush events, until more information is known.

The Institute will conduct a review of the incident before Orientation. "I think there's a chance of"BTPrushing this year, said Dean for Student Life Margaret R. Bates. "At this point there's nothing to suggest that this chapter as a chapter was responsible."

During the review phase, the Institute has also banned alcohol at the fraternity. The alumni corporation, which owns the house, has agreed to augment supervision at the house. The alumni corporation will review the status of the summer residents and will take appropriate action, including eviction if warranted.

BTPhas taken steps to address the issues brought by the incident, including rewriting its policies on summer boarders, said Katie E. Hardacre '99, who chairs the IFC judicial committee.

"The alumni corporation and the chapter have both been very responsivein working with us," Bates said.