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Alcohol Banned at ATO Following IFC Hearing

By Krista L. Niece
Associate News Editor

Alpha Tau Omega was ordered to be alcohol free until February after the house was found guilty on three counts of alcohol-related violations.

The Interfraternity Council Judicial Committee ruled that ATOhad failed to properly close its rush desk before having alcohol at a rooftop event. The fraternity pled guilty to serving alcohol without certification and without registering the event. ATOwas found not guilty on a fourth charge of having alcohol at a new member event.

In addition to the ban on alcohol, the fraternity was also ordered to pay a $250 fine.

The Interfraternity Council brought up the charges against ATO. On Sept. 2, IFCJudcomm Chair Katherine E. Hardacre '99 exited the Student Center after the conclusion of a rush meeting at around 4:15 a.m.

"As we left, we heard loud music coming from the area near Amherst Alley," Hardacre said during the Judcommhearing Tuesday. She stopped at ATO to ask the members to turn down the music.

On the roofdeck the fraternity shares with Kappa Sigma, she saw "two males in ATOshirts holding beer cans," as well as "strewn beer cans" on the ground among empty containers of soda and pizza.

Though she did not see any new members drinking alcohol, "three to five pledges" wearing ATOjerseys were present, Hardacre said.

ATO claims event not organized

At the hearing, four charges were brought against the fraternity, located at 405 Memorial Drive. ATOpled not guilty to two charges, those of serving alcohol at a rush event and of serving alcohol at a new-members event.

"We do not involve alcohol in rush,"said William T. Hockett '99, rush chair and president of ATO. The roofdeck party, he said, was "mislabeled as a rush event and mislabeled as a new member event."

Although ATOhad closed its desk in Clearinghouse, the computer system that is used for tracking freshmen during rush, it had not gotten personal approval from Hardacre, as is normal procedure.

As a consequence, ATO's rush was not officially over. IFC rules mandate that no alcohol be present during rush.

During Hardacre's testimony, she read the definition of an event from the IFCconstitution. This definition, found in the policies for risk management and risk management enforcement section, defines an "event" as "any gathering of people that is sponsored by [a fraternity, sorority or independent living group], occurs on FSILGproperty or is funded in any way by the FSILG, and which could be construed by any reasonable person as an event." Hardacre said that she judged the gathering on the roof to qualify under these guidelines.

A new member event is an "event which new members are required to attend or which is organized primarily for(though not necessarilyby)the benefit of new members," according to the IFCConstitution.

Hardacre said that she thought the rooftop gathering could be considered a "closing party,"and as such qualified as a new member event.

Hockett contended that it was not an organized event; only a dozen brothers out of fifty were present, plus approximately "five rush women and three freshmen." From midnight to three in the morning, he said, rush ceremonies were being conducted, and no alcohol was present there. After this concluded, many members went to sleep.

"At 5 a.m., there were no new member events going on we didn't plan this event," said Shishir S. Mehrotra '00, a member of ATO.

ATO pled guilty to the other two charges, serving alcohol at an event without registering it and not being certified to serve alcohol at events.

"We didn't realize this could be characterized as a [house] event," Hockett said.

ATO has no other rush violations

Samuel D. Sidiqui '99, a member of Phi Kappa Theta and the Judcomminvestigator assigned to cover ATO this year, testified that he had witnessed no previous violations of rush rules and that the fraternity had been cooperative with him during rush.

"None of us have had to deal" with these IFCrules before, Mehrotra said. The rules were rewritten during the changes leading up to this year's rush.

In past similar cases, "one, alcohol was served to freshmen; two, somebody got hurt; or three, laws were broken," Mehrotra said. None of these things happened at ATO, he added.

Hardacre did not recognize the men holding beer cans but said "they looked older," presumably of drinking age.

This was the only alcohol-related violation of rush rules reported this year, Hardacre said.

Hongsup Park '00, the IFC rush chair, represented theIFCat Tuesday's hearing. "This isn't just about ATO,"he said, adding that the hearing affects how people view the IFCand the Institutein general. "This year has been full of turmoil."