The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 25.0°F | Partly Cloudy

Sig Ep Suspended by National After Road Trip Keg Incident

By Jennifer Chung

The national office of Sigma Phi Epsilon suspended its MITchapter last week.

The suspension comes after a trip to Pennsylvania State University earlier this term, sources said. Members of the MITchapter brought a keg to the university's chapter of Sig Ep, where a regional director of the national fraternity was staying.

"We've decided to move forward to benefit the future of the chapter,"said Jesse Diaz, director of volunteers and chapter development at Sig Ep national. "We conducted an investigation with our regional board, and we did find information that did not go along with our statement on chapter and individual responsibility."

"Idon't think it's that specific incident that triggered [the suspension], but Ido think that that was one of the incidents which characterized the behavior,"said Shaun L. Meredith G, president of Sig Ep's house corporation.

The consumption of alcohol was banned at Sig Ep until February 1999 by the Boston Licensing Board after an 18-year-old female was intoxicated at the fraternity in December 1997.

After that incident, the national Sig Ep took an interest in the chapter and set out criteria in areas such as academics for its continued existence. "They had not met a number of the criteria" when the national's board of directors voted last month, Diaz said.

Chapter privileges suspended

The Sig Ep board voted to place the chapter on alumni advisory council status, meaning that the actual operations of the chapter now fall upon the local alumni corporation. Each member of theMITchapter has had his membership privileges suspended, and no chapter activities can occur.

"The only action has been that we're providing whatever support we can,"said Meredith. "We knew that right now the Greek system can't afford any type of incidents to show up, and Ireally felt disappointed."

Since the Nov. 21 vote, the MITadministration has taken no action against the MIT chapter, although "we could still discuss it,"said Rosalind H. Williams, dean of students and undergraduate education. "At this point, our main concern is with the national action and their review," she said.

"National has done the functional equivalent of suspending," Williams said. "MIT has not taken the action, which seemed redundant."

Williams indicated that after the national's review, MIT may take further action. "Our main concern is to do what we can to help that process move forward,"she said. "Whether or not we will take separate action will depend on what happens for that review. No decision has been made one way or the other."

"The actions of the national and the alumni seem entirely appropriate,"said Andrew M. Eisenmann '70, associate dean for residence life and student life programs.

According to Duane H. Dreger '99, president of the Interfraternity Council, the IFC has not officially heard about Sig Ep's suspension and has taken no action yet.

Members seeing housing choices

Even before Sig Ep announced the decision, MIT brothers had been turning in a number of requests for on-campus housing. Fourteen of the approximately 50 members of Sig Ep have requested on-campus housing as of yesterday. Twelve of the 14 are upperclassmen, said Phillip M. Bernard, program director of residential life.

"Although freshmen are guaranteed housing, upperclassmen are prioritized by when they make requests,"said Bernard. Housing requests have come from Sig Ep members throughout the term, although most have been entered in the past two weeks, he said.

"At this point, we don't know who's going to be here" after the member interviews, said Kevin Stange '99, former president of Sig Ep. Members of the local fraternity will be reviewed individually by the advisory council.

Douglas E. Heimburger contributed to the reporting of this story.