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Institute Withdraws Recognition of SAE

Alumni Expel Upperclassmen; Fraternity To Appear Before Licensing Board Today

By Frank Dabek

SAE’s hearing before the Boston Licensing Board today may be a mere formality -- MIT yesterday withdrew recognition of the embattled fraternity, effectively ending its presence on campus.

The action of a dean’s office panel against Sigma Alpha Epsilon comes in response to a September incident in which an underage Wellesley student was allegedly served alcohol at the fraternity’s house.

As a result of the ruling SAE may no longer house freshmen; those currently living at the house will be moved into Institute housing, according to Margaret R. Bates, dean of students.

In addition to action taken by the deans, the fraternity’s local alumni board has reorganized the chapter around the pledge class, expelling all members of the fraternity currently living in the house.

The fraternity’s representative, Carl K. King ’65, had promised a membership review at the house’s last appearance before the board on Oct. 27. King said in a statement released yesterday that the alumni of the chapter voted “not only not to reinstate the upperclassmen, but to ask each and every one of them to vacate the chapter house at his earliest convenience.”

Manager of Media Relations at SAE National, Benjamin Lewis, said that he was not aware of the reorganization at SAE, and he said that the “local alumni have control of the chapter” in deciding to reorganize.

Those expelled upperclassmen will be provided with housing on the same terms as other MIT upperclassmen but are unlikely to receive assignments because there isn’t enough capacity to guarantee them rooms in dormitories.

Second board hearing today

MIT’s announcement was made in preparation for today’s hearing before the licensing board. On October 28, the board suspended SAE’s license at 484 Beacon street and announced that they would investigate the fraternity’s license at 480.

Bates said MIT’s action will have an impact on the board but did not speculate on which direction it might push the body. When MIT failed to recognize Phi Gamma Delta after the death of Scott S. Krueger ’01, the board revoked Fiji’s dormitory license.

If SAE is able to maintain a residence license the deans’ ruling leaves open the possibility that a “new relationship between SAE and MIT might be established, but not earlier than fall 2001.”

Such a relationship would require resolving details such as the financial relationship between MIT and SAE, but Bates said that MIT’s first priority is to meet “its regulatory obligations” and to assist students in finishing the semester.

Investigation handled by deans

The investigation and sanctions relating to this incident were handled by a dean’s office panel rather than by the Interfraternity Council.

Michael V. Trupiano ’00, president of the IFC said that the council agreed to yield control of the case to the dean’s office at their request.

Bates said that the dean’s office decided to hear the case because the alleged events were a violation of both IFC and dean’s office regulations. We “simply didn’t want to go through sequential” trials, she said.

The IFC did submit a statement concerning the case to the dean’s panel and is also considering a motion to remove SAE from the council. Such a motion takes two meetings to consider under the IFC’s constitution and will be re-examined this week.

The dean’s panel operates in parallel to the committee on discipline, Bates said, but can bring charges against a group such as an entire fraternity.

King, however, was not pleased with the process. “We asked that our chapter’s 108 year tradition at MIT, most of them years of honor and contribution, not be ended; that the memories of our hundreds of alumni who recall different times, when the men of SAE served the MIT community with distinction, not be tarnished ... Our pleas have fallen on deaf ears,” his statement said.

King said, in the statement, that the dean’s office was too involved in the sentencing phase of the panel and that de-recognition was chosen on the advice of MIT attorneys “to ensure that our freshmen pledges suffer the same fate as the responsible upperclassmen.”

The ruling may be appealed to the dean of Students and Undergraduate Education and King has indicated that SAE will do so.