Past Year Replete with Numerous Alcohol IncidentsBy Brett Altschul
Over the past year, MIT and its fraternity system has come under widespread scrutiny from both the media and forces within Boston government as a result of numerous alcohol incidents.
The MIT fraternity system was first thrown into the spotlight when Scott S. Krueger '01, a pledge at Phi Gamma Delta, fell into an alcohol-induced coma late the evening of Friday, Sept. 26. He died just over three days later.
The Institute's Fiji chapter was immediately suspended by both MIT and the fraternity's national organization. At the same time, the Interfraternity Council temporarily banned all alcohol-related activities at fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups.
In October, Fiji's national organization announced that it would join two other national fraternities, Sigma Nu and Phi Delta Theta, and become totally dry by July 1, 2000. The national office said that they had been considering the action for some time, but Krueger's death convinced them to move forward immediately.
In November, the Boston Licensing Board suspended Fiji's dormitory and alcohol licenses. The dormitory license suspension was to last from January 15 until at least August 15, after which the house could petition to house students again.
In July, MIT announced that the Institute would not support Fiji's petition to reinstate the house's dormitory license. In light of this fact, Fiji decided not to petition the board to have their license renewed, so the fraternity house is closed indefinitely.
A grand jury investigation of Krueger's death remains ongoing. A Suffolk County grand jury has heard extensive evidence about alcohol use in the FSILG system. Indictments are expected shortly.
Zeta Psi freshman buys keg
On Oct. 10, Francis R. Godwin '01, then a 19-year-old pledge at Zeta Psi, tried to purchase a beer keg using false identification. Godwin and two other underage pledges were caught by Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission agents who were tailing the delivery truck.
Although the Campus Police and Cambridge Police assisted the ABC agents, none of the three students were arrested.
After the incident, MIT immediately banned alcohol at the fraternity. The house was eventually forced to dismantle their tapping system. Tapping systems are illegal in Boston fraternities by order of the Boston Licensing Board.
BU coed drinks at Theta Chi
On Nov. 15, Marie A. Figueredo, then an 18-year-old freshman at Boston University, was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning after drinking with several friends at Theta Chi. After the incident, the fraternity temporarily removed all alcohol from the house until the issue was resolved.
At a licensing board hearing in January, Theta Chi singled out one member of the house, Jason F. Kreisberg '99. The drinking apparently occurred with a small group of people in Kreisberg's room, with no other house members present.
Jason T. Timpe '99, then the president of the fraternity, said that Theta Chi suspended Kreisberg.
The board eventually banned all alcohol from the house until August 15, but took no further action, recognizing that the incident was not a part of an officially sanctioned fraternity event.
Freshman drinks at Sig Ep
An 18-year-old female freshman was hospitalized on Saturday, Dec. 6, after being served alcohol at Sigma Phi Epsilon. MIT immediately suspended the fraternity.
After the incident, the alumni of the house required the fraternity to become alcohol-free indefinitely. They also mandated the house hire a resident adviser and change to a new system, developed by the national organization, that essentially eliminated pledging.
In February, the Boston Licensing Board banned alcohol from the fraternity for one year.
The fraternity received relatively light punishment from MIT, because the Institute felt that Sig Ep responded quickly and maturely to the incident, making extensive sanctions unnecessary.
CPs find drinking at Bexley
On Saturday, Jan. 10, the Campus Police broke up an unofficial party in the basement of Bexley House, taking the names of 18 underage drinkers.
The CPs informed the Cambridge and state authorities, but neither took any further action. Since the event was not officially affiliated with the dormitory, Bexley received no sanctions from the Institute.
SAE serves alcohol to prefrosh
At a party during Campus Preview Weekend in April, Sigma Alpha Epsilon served alcohol to visiting high school students. The house was immediately suspended by the administration.
Initially, the IFC Judicial Committee imposed severe sanctions on SAE, after complaints from Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones. The sanctions included a ban on alcohol at the fraternity and a loss of Institute-approved housing status, which would have prevented freshmen from living at SAE this year.
However, the loss of Institute-approved housing status was overturned on an appeal to the IFC Executive Committee, because the IFCbelieved that they could not revoke the privilege. However, the Committee also extended the alcohol ban at the fraternity to last until June 11, 1999.
The suspension of SAE continues through rush, and as a result the fraternity will not be able to rush freshmen.
In addition, the IFC judicial committee found SAE guilty of violating their dean's office suspension and athletic department rules by contacting freshmen over the summer. SAE was fined by the IFC and their rush was delayed, a punishment made moot by the continuing suspension.
BTP boarders injure officer
On July 17, summer boarders at Beta Theta Pi who were not affiliated with MIT pelted Boston University police officers with filled beer bottles and cans. One officer suffered severe spinal damage and may not serve again on the BU police force.
The IFC sanctioned the house, banning alcohol from their property until Sept. 7, 1999. However, the fraternity will be allowed to rush this fall.
The national office of the fraternity suspended the chapter's charter. As a result, the chapter will be run temporarily by the local alumni.
James B. Williams '99, a member of BTP, is scheduled to be indicted on Wednesday for purchasing and providing alcohol to the underage boarders.