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Sigma Nu May Relocate To Fiji’s Former House

By Krista L. Niece

A little more than a year after Phi Gamma Delta fraternity members were forced out of their house at 28 The Fenway, another MIT fraternity is hoping to set up residence there.

Sigma Nu fraternity, which now has more members than its house can hold, has applied to transfer its dormitory license to the former Fiji residence. Both MIT and Fiji representatives have agreed to support the move.

MIT supports Sigma Nu

MIT plans to officially support the license transfer at a hearing before the Boston Licensing Board this Wednesday.

“We have been aware for some time of the interest of Sigma Nu in obtaining a larger house, and specifically of their interest in leasing the Phi Gamma Delta House, but we were only recently informed that Sigma Nu would be presenting its request... on March 10,” said Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education and Student Life Rosalind H. Williams

Dean for Student Life Margaret R. Bates will speak on MIT’s behalf at the hearing.

According to Bates, MIT was informed of the intent to apply for the license transfer “less than a week” ago.

Bates also said that no other group had expressed a serious interest to MIT in occupying the former Fiji residence.

Fraternity growth prompts move

“We have been looking for a bigger house for quite some time. Sigma Nu has grown both in numbers and maturity, and the current house no longer suffices for our housing needs,” said Sigma Nu President Justin M. Schmidt ’01.

Nineteen of the twenty-seven fraternity members live in double and triple rooms at 523 Newbury Street; the others live in nearby apartments rented by the fraternity.

The fraternity went over its housing capacity two years ago, Schmidt said. Renting apartments has “hurt our finances and, more importantly, our brotherhood,” he said.

The former Fiji residence is only about 300 yards from the current Sigma Nu house. Sigma Nu plans to retain its current house and will probably lease it to graduate students, according to Schmidt.

Sigma Nu to be a ‘good neighbor’

“We’ve been good neighbors on Newbury street and we will continue to be at the Fenway,” said Sigma Nu House Corporation President Michael Plusch ’93. Sigma Nu is alcohol-free and has never been cited for violations.

Every member of Sigma Nu is involved in at least one public service project, and the chapter as a whole organizes several events every semester, including semi-annual Kenmore Alley Cleanups, during which members remove trash from the streets near the house.

Fiji Corp. hopes to lease property

The Malcom Cotton Brown Corporation, which owns the former Fiji residence, is eager to discuss leasing the property if the transfer is approved. “We’d like to start generating some income again,” said Roderic P. Taft ’74, head of the corporation.

Fiji was suspended by MIT and the BLB in September 1997, after the drinking death of pledge Scott S. Krueger ’01. MIT announced last summer that it would not support an application for renewal of the chapter’s dormitory license; the chapter was later dissolved.

None of the former members of the chapter, aside from two caretakers, have lived in the house since January 1998.

Zareena Hussain contributed to the reporting of this story.