ATO Brothers Left Homeless by CLC
By Richa Maheshwari
The first thing Nathan J. Ackerman ’04 has seen every morning since Rosh Hashanah is the laptop computer he clutches in his arms when he sleeps on the “slobbery” blue couch in the fifth floor study room of the student center.
Ackerman, along with the rest of his Alpha Tau Omega brothers, is homeless for 20 days because the Cambridge Licensing Commission suspended ATO’s housing license.
Richard V. Scali, executive officer of the CLC, said ATO was found guilty of “underage drinking on the roof and a public disturbance which led to an altercation.” An ATO brother allegedly shouted a racial slur at a member of The Roots, a band performing at Spring Weekend last year. This led to a physical confrontation between ATO brothers and members of the band.
“We notified them about the decision with plenty of time for them to make alternative arrangements. It’s a punishment and it wouldn’t be if we provided other housing,” Scali said. This marks the second time ATO has been evicted due to CLC violations. Last year, alcohol violations forced forced both ATO and Kappa Sigma to run rush outside their houses.
Housing hazardous for brothers
Ackerman’s backpack weighs 37 pounds because he carries around all of his books and his laptop computer. Aaron J. Parness ’01 showers and changes at DuPont every day. With numerous brothers sleeping all around campus, or commuting to school from places as far away as Stonehill College, a number of concerns exist.
“It is unsafe for students to sleep anywhere. They are completely homeless, and if they don’t find someplace to sleep, they literally would have to sleep on the street. It is a complete health hazard,” said ATO President George S. Gluck ’02. He is trying to ensure that the ATO brothers can stay at other fraternities or with friends.
Jesse M. Barnes ’02, who commutes from either Wellesley College or Jamaica Plain, spends 45 minutes to an hour every day commuting to and from school. His major concern has been keeping in touch with the players and parents of the Cambridge Youth Soccer team he coaches.
“Punishing ATO is one thing, but this suspension has had a negative impact well beyond our brotherhood. We’ve had to disrupt the schedules of friends, families, and everyone else who depends on us,” Barnes said.
All of the brothers agree that this “punishment does not fit the crime.” However, they do feel that MIT has been as supportive as they could be with their dealings with the CLC.
“MIT would never leave us homeless,” Gluck said. The dining office implemented Dean Larry G. Benedict’s decision to provide ATO with $200 meal cards for their twenty day suspension, since they could not utilize their kitchen during that time.
Benedict also offered to house new pledges in MacGregor during the 20 day suspension.
Freshmen guaranteed housing
In the dim lighting of the former MacGregor lounges, three beds are lined up side by side, and two ATO brothers crouch over the laptop computer they managed to bring from their house. The general attitude of the room is somber as the freshmen talk about the punishment they must serve for an incident that happened well before they arrived at MIT.
“We weren’t even around for the incident. I feel if MIT didn’t give us housing we would be homeless like the rest of the brothers,” Jesse D. Chandler ’05 said.
“It’s the little things like staples and cups and bowls. Or, if I want to ask one of my brothers for help on a problem set. We don’t have that anymore,” said Daniel S. Cohen ’05.
Cohen also feels that this has had a detrimental effect on the brotherhood. “This has really impacted the brotherhood. I miss my roommates. I was just getting to know them and when we go back we’re switching rooms so I feel like I won’t get to know them as well as I could have,” Cohen said. He claims that they are trying to maintain the brotherhood by eating meals together at Lobdell, Baker Dining, and Courses.
The freshmen only resided in the house for three weeks before they were asked to leave. Originally, the suspension was to take place on September 1st, but at the request of Benedict, and Jeffrey J. Billing G, CLC postponed the suspension until September 18.
CLC also attempted to ease the suspension by allowing the brothers into the house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day, but many brothers do not have the chance to go back during those times because of classes.