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ASA to Redistribute Part of Tech’s Office For Rule Violations

By Jennifer Krishnan

NEWS EDITOR

The Executive Board of the Association of Student Activities subtracted about one-fourth of The Tech’s office space as a sanction for violating ASA rush rules.

This is the first time the ASA has revoked office space for rush rules violations, said ASA President Alvar Saenz-Otero G.

Tech Chairman Jordan Rubin ’02 called the ruling “inappropriate ... I don’t think what they’ve accused us of doing is even a crime at all,” he said.

“The ASA ruling is based on several recruitment advertisements place both in the general sections of The Tech as well as in the Daily Confusion,” Saenz-Otero said.

“Most groups follow the rush rules, but not The Tech,” he said. Groups are not allowed to actively recruit new members until after the Activities Midway.

Originally, the ASA Executive Board had decided to revoke The Tech’s space at today’s Activities Midway. After a hearing yesterday, held at the request of The Tech, however, the board amended the sanction.

The decision is not appealable to the ASA Executive Board, but The Tech may choose to appeal to Assistant Dean for Student Activities Tracy F. Purinton or Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict, Saenz-Otero said.

Rubin said The Tech plans to make such an appeal.

House Ads

Among the offenses The Tech is being sanctioned for are several “house ads” -- advertisements placed by The Tech to fill space -- that encouraged students to join the organization, Saenz-Otero said.

Clubs are not allowed to actively seek out new members between August 15 and August 28.

On Friday, The Tech ran a half-page recruitment advertisement on its back page.

Additionally, two recruitment advertisements that collectively took up more than three-fourths of one page ran together on the inside of Saturday’s edition of The Tech.

Saenz-Otero said he and Rubin had agreed Wednesday that The Tech would not run any recruitment advertisements on its front or back pages, nor any full-page recruitment advertisements.

Rubin said he had agreed not to run any front page or full-color recruitment advertisements and to “try our best not to” run any such advertisements on the back page.

“It wasn’t a ‘try-to,’” Saenz-Otero said at yesterday’s hearing.

On Friday, Saenz-Otero sent an e-mail to the Executive Board of The Tech stating what he felt the compromise was. It was clearly marked as an official warning.

“I only got the clarification e-mail after we went to press with Friday night’s (Saturday’s) issue,” Rubin said.

At yesterday’s hearing, Rubin discussed at length the constraints placed on The Tech’s production department that led to the placement of Friday’s and Saturday’s house ads, including time constraints, implications of printing in color, and placement of the crossword solution.

Some members of the ASA Executive Board, however, remained skeptical. Student Member at Large Anant K. Saraswat ’02 indicated that he felt The Tech could probably have filled the space with something other than “Join The Tech.”

Daily Confusion

The Tech’s Daily Confusion, distributed on Friday at the Residence Midway, proved to be another point of contention at the meeting. The guide included several entries under the name Theta Epsilon Chi that stated such things as “Come to The Tech ... grab a story for tomorrow’s issue.”

“They were just gags,” Rubin said.

However, the Executive Board of the ASA agreed that these were recruitment advertisements aimed directly at freshmen, who comprise the primary readership of the Daily Confusion.

Though he saw the controversial entries before the Confusion was sent to the printers on Thursday afternoon, he said he did not have enough time to change it, and “I didn’t think it was that big a deal ... They were jokes.”

Rubin said all the Theta Epsilon Chi entries had been removed from the Daily Confusion within the newspaper after he found about the complaint Sunday night. However, the printed Daily Confusion booklets distributed at the Residence Midway still contain those entries.

The sanction issued by the ASA is based in part on the printing of the Theta Epsilon Chi Confusion entries, Saenz-Otero said.

The original decision

Originally, the ASA Executive Board had decided to revoke The Tech’s booth at tonight’s Activities Midway. The decision was made at an emergency meeting of the ASA Executive Board Sunday, after the board received a formal complaint about the Theta Epsilon Chi entries in the Daily Confusion, Saenz-Otero said.

Only two members of the ASA Executive Board were physically present at the “hearing,” but others were present “via zephyr contact,” according to Saenz-Otero. During the summer, four votes are required for the board to take any executive or disciplinary action. The Tech was not invited to this emergency meeting.

In an e-mail to the ASA Executive Board, Rubin requested a hearing with representatives of The Tech present.

“They had a hearing where we were convicted without the ability to make our case,” Rubin said.

Saenz-Otero said it was not necessary to invite The Tech to the Sunday’s meeting because “they already had a warning.”

Nevertheless, the ASA granted The Tech’s request for another hearing. The new decision hearing was held yesterday.

But “they had already convicted us,” Rubin said.

The revised ASA verdict “hurts The Tech ... but will not critically damage the organization,” Saenz-Otero said. The ASA, he said, chose not to revoke The Tech’s booth at the Activities Midway because, based on The Tech’s record of breaking recruitment rules in the past, “the most important resource for The Tech are its [new] members.”

Both the revoking of office space and the removal from the Activities Midway are unprecedented consequences for violations of rush rules. Saenz-Otero said the ASA has rarely had to take any kind of action regarding rush rules violations.

Last year, The Tech was one of the first organizations to be sanctioned for such actions at all. The Tech was forced to formally apologize to all the groups at the Activities Midway for actively recruiting in advance.

Office space

The space being revoked by the ASA is Room W20-477, which is currently used as The Tech’s business office.

Room reallocation occurs every two years, Saenz-Otero said, and the next reallocation will happen this coming fall. The process continues into the beginning of the spring term.

The Tech will be allowed to apply for more space again at the end of this two-year cycle.

Currently, The Tech has one of the three largest offices on the fourth floor of the Student Center, Saenz-Otero said.

Tech points to others

At yesterday’s hearing, Rubin pointed out advertisements for events in the current issue of Counterpoint and the program for the Music Theater Guild’s show, City of Angels. He suggested that perhaps a double standard was being used.

“We don’t wish to file a formal complaint,” Rubin said, because “we feel they have a right to run whatever they want in their publication.”

Saenz-Otero, however, said the ASA would look into those potential violations.

This article was not edited by any current or former members of The Tech’s Executive Board.