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Kappa Sig To Face CLC Again After Latest Drinking Incident

By Laura McGrath Moulton


A Kappa Sigma brother has been suspended from taking part in house activities and ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous after his role in the first alcohol-related incident at the house since it was ordered to completely dry for two years by the Cambridge Licensing Commission.

The CLC is reviewing the incident and will hold a hearing about it on November 14.

The incident occurred early in the morning of September 30, when brother Kevin T. Weston ’03 was transported to the MIT Medical Center for intoxication at 12:46 a.m. Weston is under 21 and Kappa Sigma’s rush chair.

According to CLC Executive Officer Richard V. Scali, Kappa Sigma’s Housemaster Jeffery Z. Snyder G dealt immediately to the crisis, staying up most of the night helping the fraternity formulate a response. Snyder met with Scali the Monday after the incident and filed a letter describing the incident and the fraternity’s response in detail.

However, Scali said, the CLC found several “discrepancies” between Snyder’s account and the police reports of the incident.

“There are issues about when and how the alcohol was obtained and who knew alcohol was present. It looks as though this one gentleman [Weston] was obtained alcohol and was drinking before a dinner event. If the drinking was related to the event and if he continued drinking after is still up in the air,” Scali said.

Scali said that the CLC, the Cambridge Police, and the Campus Police are conducting investigations which they will report at the hearing. “This is a fact-finding hearing,” Scali said. “We want to find out what happened.”

Incident was isolated, KS says

Kappa Sigma brother and Interfraternity Council Rush Chair Dakus S. Gunn ’01 called the incident “isolated” and indicated that no one but Weston was involved.

Although he has not been expelled from the fraternity, Weston will not participate in house activities such as IM sports until he has completed an Alcoholics Anonymous program as well as community service. Gunn said that Weston accepted this action “voluntarily” and is willing to work to prove to the fraternity that he no longer has a problem with alcohol.

“When someone living in the house feels they can’t function without alcohol,” the fraternity must address that problem, Gunn said.

Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict said the Institute believes that the incident does not reflect a larger problem at Kappa Sigma and will not open disciplinary procedures against the fraternity. “We don’t see this as a fraternity incident; we see this as an individual’s problem,” Benedict said.

Benedict could not comment on whether the Institute would discipline Weston.

KS received suspension in spring

Kappa Sigma appeared before the CLC twice last semester.

The fraternity received a thirty-day suspension in early March after a guest at the fraternity required hospitalization for alcohol intoxication. The suspension took effect during this fall’s rush period, obliging the fraternity to rush from a local hotel. Although this sanction was intended to harm Kappa Sigma’s rush, their rush in fact went unusually well, garnering the fraternity more pledges than usual.

The fraternity was also ordered to be dry for two years.

Kappa Sigma appeared before the CLC later that semester in connection with a January incident in which Campus Police responding to a fire alarm found the first floor of the fraternity’s house trashed. The fraternity said the situation was the result of the independent action of a brother who was subsequently asked to leave the house and had his active status in the fraternity revoked. No sanctions were imposed by the CLC as a result of this incident.

Scali expressed frustration that the fraternity should have to appear again after the action taken last spring.

“What I don’t understand is why after the suspension kids would be bringing alcohol on the premises,” he said.

Sarah E. Gallop, the co-director of the office of government and community relations, acknowledged that the recent events make Kappa Sigma’s situation more precarious. “Because there is that history this is a particularly sensitive issue,” Gallop said.

However, she said that the fraternity’s quick reaction may earn them credit in the eyes of the CLC. “Historically that is the sort of [swift action] they look for,” Gallop said.

She credited Kappa Sigma’s housemaster for playing a positive role.

“[Snyder] has been playing a unique role as Housemaster. His interface with the CLC has been very productive,” Gallop said. “He’s really managed to open up the lines of communication between the CLC and Kappa Sigma.”

Benedict said, “Kappa Sigma really took care of the situation themselves. [The fraternity] took appropriate, quick actions, and they did a good job.”

Gunn noted that it is difficult “to make an entire house dry instantaneously. It’s a learning curve. We hope to convince the CLC we’re reacting proactively and dealing” with problems as they come up.

Snyder said that “we tried to exercise some maturity and some responsibility in responding” to the incident.

CLC reaction could be severe

Benedict said that it is his “hope and anticipation” that the CLC will not take severe action against Kappa Sigma.

“This is an isolated incident. It could have happened anywhere, in any living group or dormitory,” Benedict said, noting that outside of this incident the fraternity members “have done a good job policing themselves.”

Gallop noted that “occasionally we have gone before the CLC and they have said, ‘You did a great job responding,’” and closed the issue there. While she could not say this outcome was likely in this case, she said, “it’s an option here.”

Scali said he could not speculate on how events would play out after the hearing. “The best case would be that the kid somehow had alcohol off the premises, came back, and was sick,” Scali said. In the worst case, he said, fraternity members were aware of what was going on and condoned it.

Scali said that he did not know how the CLC would punish Kappa Sigma if they are found in violation of the sanction conditions, but he noted that “they’ve already been suspended for twenty days, so it would have to be something more serious than that.”

Gallop said that she would meet with the members of Kappa Sigma before the hearing to help them prepare for it.

Benedict added that he would accompany the brothers to the hearing.

IFC will conduct investigation

Russell L. Spieler ’01, Interfraternity Council Judicial Committee chair, said that the IFC will also be conducting an investigation into the incident and will decide what, if any, sanctions to impose on Kappa Sigma before the CLC hearing.

“We will be presenting our judgments before the CLC and advising them based on our findings,” Spieler said. “We are seeking better relations with city government, so we hope to help guide them and to have them help guide us” in this issue.

Spieler said that the IFC has a policy of promising to reward fraternities for acting responsibly, such as calling for medical assistance in the case of intoxication, even if it may get the fraternity in trouble.

“[A fraternity] will receive some leniency if [it takes] the responsible action,” Spieler said.

Spieler and IFC President Damien A. Brosnan ’01 said that the IFC did not have enough information at this time to judge whether Kappa Sigma may be at fault in any way.

“It’s important we come at this [the investigation] from a data-collecting standpoint,” Brosnan said.

Incident raises transport issue

The incident came in the midst of a campus-wide debate on whether MIT should provide confidential emergency medical transport. Had such a policy existed at the time of the incident, it might never have come to the attention of the CLC.

Benedict said that he did not think this case would have any bearing on whether or not MIT’s policy would be changed.

“The bottom line is that I’m most concerned about student health and safety,” Benedict said, noting that he hoped the policy would be revisited later in the semester.

Brosnan said the IFC is “in total support of anonymous medical transport” and intends to lead the campus in pursuing that and other alcohol and health-related initiatives.

However, Scali said that although he agreed that health and safety were paramount, he had reservations about anonymous medical transport.

“What I don’t support is that people are somehow using this as a way of avoiding consequences for violations,” Scali said. “I think MIT students are smart enough to know that if someone’s sick you do whatever it takes to get them help” regardless of legal ramifications.

Spieler said that “it’s definitely not the IFC position that no one should be responsible for their actions, but safety of members should come first. We would hate for resultant sanction if it’s warranted [in the Kappa Sigma case] to scare people from getting help for their friends.”