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IFC Calls for SUbstance Free Rule in New Dorm

By Priya Prahalad

The Interfraternity Council is calling for the Institute's new dormitory to be substance-free living.

The resolution was approved by the IFC's Presidents' Council at its last meeting on Oct. 21 in response to the administration's request for student input about the new dorm, said Christopher R. Rezek '99, the IFC public relations chair, who introduced the resolution.

"I think it is critically important that students are provided with the option of substance-free housing," he said.

"It would be great if there was a substance free house that was not a FSILG," Rezek said. "The IFC is proposing that the new dorm be substance-free because it would be unfair to dictate housing rules to people who are already living in a dorm."

Some students felt that the IFC's suggestion would be a positive one for the Institute to implement. "It is a good idea, but one that would be hard to enforce," said Lashawn Morgan '00. "Alcohol will be used everywhere no matter what the rules are."

"It is a good idea. Since there isn't already an option, there should be one," said Jamie Song '99. "People should have a choice."

"As long as it's a choice, I don't see why it should be a problem," said Lily Hong '00. "But I don't see how this rule can be enforced."

Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow '72, who is overseeing the process leading to the new housing system, could not comment on the IFCresolution yesterday as he had not yet received it.

Dormitory Council president Manju V. Madhavan '99 said "It's way too early to be having this conversation," adding that there are more important things to discuss and implement at this time.

By the time the new dorm opens in fall 2001, several fraternities and all the sororities will be substance-free. MIT has not taken any steps toward introducing such a regime in a dormitory.

The IFCis not trying to regulate dormitory behavior, Rezek said. It is only trying to offer additional choices to MIT students, he said. "The option of substance free housing enriches the MIT undergraduate experience," he said.

"In other universities that already have substance-free housing, this is usually one of the most oversubscribed housing options," Rezek said.

It is the belief of the IFCthat MIT students who would like to live in such an environment should have the same options, he said.

IFC claims support of Congress

The IFC also noted that recent action in Congress supported their positions. Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) introduced an amendment to the Higher Education Act of 1963. It encourages colleges "to provide students with the opportunity to live in an alcohol-free environment."

The IFC also claims that another recent piece of federal legislation supported this position as well. One recent amendment to another education act was designed to "put Congress on the record defending the rights of students who face expulsion and other severe consequences by daring to enjoy their most basic constitutional freedoms of speech and association, often off campus and on their own time," said Representative Robert Livingston (R-Lou.).

The IFC interpreted this statement as implying that students should be allowed to choose off-campus residences.