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Deciding Punishment for Kappa Sig

In less than two weeks, the Cambridge License Commission will convene yet again to determine Kappa Sigma’s fate. The house, which has been before the board more than any other MIT living group in the last two years, is in danger of having its license suspended after an alcohol incident in September involving former member Kevin T. Weston ’03.

Given Kappa Sig’s past behavior, it seems reasonable that the CLC should punish the fraternity. House residents have not only repeatedly endangered themselves and others over the past two years, but have also forced the CLC to look upon any alcohol incident at MIT with a critical eye. This most recent incident exemplifies Kappa Sig’s tendencies. Weston was underage and drinking during a period in which the house was supposed to be dry.

The CLC cannot condone the house’s behavior under any circumstances, and Kappa Sig must receive some sort of punishment. At the same time, the CLC must be careful about the severity of its punishment. The board must not discourage other houses from calling for medical help during an emergency.

The statements of City Councillor Ken Reeves, who is a member of the Commission, that “the culture of drinking [at MIT] is just beyond what anyone could imagine” and that the “CLC doesn’t have to be a part of licensing death” represent a fundamental misunderstanding of the situation at MIT.

Like it or not, any severe punishment of Kappa Sig will make students hesitate before calling for help. When the choice students must make is between the existence of their living group and the health of a student who may or may not be seriously ill, the choice is not as obvious as it may seem.

The CLC has an opportunity to make a statement about Kappa Sig, but should not use this opportunity to make a general condemnation of MIT life. The Tech therefore recommends that the CLC suspend Kappa Sig’s license for the duration of Independent Activities Period.

A suspension of that length of time will demonstrate the CLC’s concern about Kappa Sig without making other students fret about calling for help in an emergency. The timing will also benefit students of the fraternity by ensuring that they are not forced to move or be inconvenienced during the finals week.