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CPs Find Drugs, Beer Keg on Fourth West

By Eric J. Cholankeril


In separate incidents at East Campus, illegal drugs were found inside a resident’s room, and a beer keg was discovered in a hallway closet.

Both the drugs and the keg were found on the fourth floor of East Campus’ west parallel, soon after fire alarms went off on the floor. The MIT Campus Police incident log lists the drugs as having been found at 6:13 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 9, shortly after a fire alarm went off at 5:42 p.m.

According to Captain David A. Carlson of the MIT Campus Police, the keg was found on Friday, Jan. 11, after a fire alarm went off in the fourth floor janitor’s closet. The beer keg was reported found at 4:48pm, less than an hour after the alarm went off at 3:56pm.

CPs discovered the keg in an adjoining room “referred to as the Elvis room,” Carlson said. According to former EC residents, the room, which contains Elvis memorabilia, used to be known as the “Elvis Shrine” until many of its contents were thrown out during summer renovations.

“The keg was visible from the hallway,” Carlson said. “We seized it and got in touch with the liquor store.” The keg was later returned to the liquor store.

Carlson declined to comment on the discovery of the drugs, saying only that the student involved was not arrested.

“Any case against an individual student goes through the [Committee on Discipline] or through the Dean’s office,” said Assistant Dean Carol Orme-Johnson.

Action may be taken against hall

Referring to the issue of the keg found on the hall, Orme-Johnson said, “There’s not such a clearly delineated process ... for a whole floor ... but we do have precedent. That always involves conferences with the housemasters, the [graduate resident tutors], and two or three people from the Dean’s office.”

East Campus Housemasters Julian K. Wheatley and Marjorie Nolan-Wheatley plan to release a written statement regarding the incidents next week, Nolan-Wheatley said.

Fourth West GRT Solar C. Olugebefola G declined comment, as did Associate Housemaster Ayida Mthembu.

In an e-mail sent to the floor mailing list, resident Sarah W. Low ’02 wrote, “Our ‘culture’ is being threatened, so we must be willing to make sacrifices to avoid the worst possible outcome,” disbanding of the hall.

Residents of the fifth floor of the east parallel were put in a similar situation in 1999, after Richard A. Guy ’99 died of nitrous oxide asphyxiation and two other students were charged with drug possession.

Jon E. Gonda ’02, a resident of Fifth East at the time, said that the administrators, including Orme-Johnson, had decided on various measures in response to those events, including moving people off the hall and repainting the hall “white or off-white.”

“The admins called a meeting to get our input, ... but it was all lip service. The decision had been made,” Gonda said. “What really pissed us off was that they said, ‘This is for your own good.’ They were trying to destroy our support structure.

“Ultimately they backed down from splitting the hall up ... the only people who left were the people directly involved,” Gonda said.

He added, “I don’t think you can really compare the two situations.” The situation on Fifth East was “the result of a long chain of events,” while the current events “seem more of a spot incident,” Gonda said.