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ATO to Face CLC Regarding Spring Weekend Altercation with The Roots Commission R

By Jennifer Krishnan


Alpha Tau Omega will once again appear before the Cambridge License Commission on June 19, this time regarding the altercation between the fraternity and the hip-hop band The Roots during Spring Weekend.

ATO has already been sanctioned by the Interfraternity Council. IFC sanctions include a ban on large events until spring 2002 and a ban on any events with alcohol until fall 2002.

“The action taken [by the IFC] so far is certainly adequate” punishment, said ATO President Erik M. Glover ’02. “Any further action by the CLC is unwarranted.”

CLC responsible for safety

“The CLC is responsible for the safety and well-being of the building and the people in it,” said CLC Executive Officer Richard V. Scali. The hearing will be a disciplinary hearing to investigate the alleged racial remarks made, the ensuing altercation, and the supposed presence of alcohol on the roof.

Glover said it seemed the CLC hearing was “racially motivated.”

The complaint listed on the City of Cambridge’s web site makes no mention of alcohol, citing instead “a complaint by MIT Police that ... racial slurs were made by individuals on the rooftop of ATO which caused a fight.”

Scali said that if a racial slur had a detrimental effect on someone’s health and safety, CLC sanctions would be appropriate.

The CLC may also take into consideration MIT’s overall attitude toward minorities, Scali said.

ATO dry until fall 2002

ATO admitted to violating three sections of the IFC risk management policy as charged at an IFC Executive Review on May 16. The fraternity had been charged with damaging the reputation of the IFC community, holding an unregistered event, and allowing underage drinking to occur.

As punishment for holding an unregistered event, ATO will not be allowed to host any large events until spring 2002. A large event is one where more guests than brothers are present.

In response to the alcohol violation, the IFC has declared ATO a dry house until fall 2002. No alcohol will be allowed on the premises at any time until then. After their privileges are renewed, the fraternity will remain on probation for one year.

The renewal of ATO’s alcohol privileges is contingent upon 100 percent of new members and three-fourths of all members attending an alcohol education seminar and a legal liability seminar. Normally, fraternities must send three-fourths of all new members to the alcohol education seminar, and two-thirds of all members must have attended it at some point. The legal liability seminar is usually only required for specified house officers.

The fraternity must also participate actively on the Campus Alcohol Advisory Board.

Racial concerns addressed

To deal with the racial issues head-on, the IFC has required ATO to organize a symposium on race relations within two weeks of the arrival of freshmen on campus.

IFC President Rory P. Pheiffer ’02 said that “much more was done by ATO and MIT to handle this portion of the violation,” citing sensitivity training for the house this coming fall, ATO internal sanctions on any brother that shouted from the roof deck on the afternoon of April 27, the suspension of two brothers by the local and national fraternity, and participation in events that stemmed from the Spring Weekend incident, such as the Speak Out rally and a community forum. All of these are measures taken independently by the fraternity and supported by the Institute when appropriate.

Pheiffer says sanctions are enough

“We [the IFC] believe that all of the actions taken collectively by ATO, the IFC, and MIT to discipline ATO and educate both the house and the entire MIT community as a result of this incident are sufficient,” Pheiffer said. “The IFC is the best governing body to deal with both disciplining and educating those involved” with this and most other incidents arising in the IFC community.

Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict upheld the IFC ruling, deciding not to impose any further punishment on ATO. Instead, he will monitor the fraternity’s progress with respect to the IFC ruling.

Both Benedict and representatives of the IFC plan to attend the CLC hearing.

Glover said the IFC had “done a good job of coupling [strictly punitive] sanctions with educational opportunities.”

Glover hopes the CLC “will realize that strictly punitive punishments and sanctions can only go so far ... If you’re looking to [promote growth], you’re going to have to use educational measures.”

The national ATO fraternity is conducting its own investigation of the events that took place on the roofdeck on April 27, Glover said. The local chapter will follow whatever course of action the national fraternity recommends.