The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 55.0°F | Overcast

Boston Licensing Board Prohibits Alcohol at Sig Ep Until Feb. 1999

Wan Yusof Wan Morshidi--The Tech
Mass. Delta Corporation President Shaun E. Meredith '90 and Sigma Phi Epsilon President Kevin M. Strange '99 discuss their handling of a December alcohol incident before the Boston Licensing Board.

By Douglas E.Heimburger
and Dan McGuire
Staff Reporters

The Boston Licensing Board has voted to ban the consumption of alcohol at Sigma Phi Epsilon for one year following the treatment of an 18-year-old female freshman for alcohol intoxication Dec. 6 after she drank at the fraternity.

The student "had consumed a number of shots of alcohol," said Licensing Board Chairman Ellen E. Rooney yesterday at a meeting to decide what action to take against the fraternity. "I'm concerned that it happened at all There was an incident and the fraternity should be disciplined."

"I think they responded to the discovery appropriately,"said Commissioner Joseph I. Mulligan. He suggested not imposing any punishment on the fraternity.

"They have [suspended the use of alcohol] indefinitely," Rooney said, adding that the licensing board should impose a concrete deadline.

Rooney thanked MIT for bringing the incident to her attention. "We heard about this [incident] through MIT itself. This is a step in the right direction," said Rooney. The decision by MIT to share the information with the board shows that the Institute is interested in what is going on in fraternities, she added.

The Board learned of previous alcohol-related incidents after the Boston Police conducted a license premise investigation following an incident.

However, the BostonPolice were not contacted following this incident because the medical transport was preformed by the Campus Police.

Event not sponsored by fraternity

At a discussion of the event at the Board's meeting on Tuesday Sig Ep President Kevin M. Stange '99 said that the event was not sponsored by the fraternity, however it was "large enough to consider it a fraternity function"for insurance purposes.

The event, which was held despite the Interfraternity Council's decision to ban alcohol at events, "sprang up kind of spontaneously and spread by word of mouth,"Stange said. Of the approximately 50 attendees, most were brothers or pledges, although a few other people were there.

Stange admitted that there was little control over alcohol during the party. "People would go and pour themselves a drink."

While Stange did not know the freshman, he did confirm that she was at the party. "Some people said she was drinking in her room before and after"she was at Sig Ep, Stange said.

According to witness reports, the student, who lives in Baker House, consumed between 12 and 15 shots of alcohol before returning to her dormitory room, said Captain John E. Driscoll of the CampusPolice.

Alumni move to punish fraternity

Immediately following the incident, the MassDelta Alumni Corporation, which owns the SigEp house, conducted their own investigation, said Shaun L. Meredith '90, the president of the corporation.

OnDec. 10 the Corporation required Sig Ep to become substance-free, to appoint a resident chapter advisor, and to adopt a new national-developed BalancedMan Project that "essentially eliminates pledging,"Meredith said.

The fraternity has not decided how long to remain substance-free, Stange said. "Our view is to treat it as an experiment," he said.

IFCpunishes Sig Ep for actions

Prior to the licensing board meeting, the Judicial Committee of the IFCreleased its final ruling in the case.

Sig Ep pleaded guilty to violating the IFCRisk Management Alcohol Policy. Because of its "straightforward acceptance of responsibility"and the action of the Alumni Corporation, the Judicial Committee decided not to severely punish the organization.

The IFCrequired Sig Ep to be alcohol free until June 1, to contribute $500 towards an alcohol awareness and education program scheduled for March, and to provide two CPRtraining sessions for at least 50 people.

The actions are designed to "prevent an alcohol related occurrence" at Sig Ep as well as to "help change MIT's cultural dependence on alcohol,"said Judicial Committee Chair Katherine E. Hardacre '99 in a letter explaining the decision.

"Had the Sigma Phi Epsilon Alumni not responded so promptly and stringently, the Executive Review would have demanded a harsher penalty,"Hardacre said.