The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 36.0°F | Partly Cloudy

MIT Watching Fourth West, But Floor Not Sanctioned

By Kevin R. Lang


MIT decided yesterday not to take disciplinary actions against the fourth floor of East Campus’ west parallel after MIT Campus Police found a marijuana plant in a resident’s room on Jan. 9, but residents will be under close watch from MIT in the future.

Assistant Dean Carol Orme-Johnson said MIT is taking three steps toward ensuring a similar incident does not occur in the future. First, “the enforcement of MIT policies around drugs and alcohol is going to be strict and vigilant,” Orme-Johnson said. Second, Fourth West residents will be required to attend a discussion about drugs and alcohol. Third, residents have been warned that future incidents will be taken seriously by MIT.

“It’s been made clear that they’ve had their last chance,” Orme-Johnson said. She said that no one has been moved off the hall, other than residents against whom MIT has “compelling evidence.”

Though Orme-Johnson did not name him specifically, Peter N. Merkx ’04 is known to be the student who was found in possession of the marijuana plant on Jan. 9, and he is no longer living on the hall. Merkx’s current MIT directory information lists his address as Durham, North Carolina.

Orme-Johnson said that MIT reserved the right to move residents in case of future incidents.

MIT punishes individual, not hall

Orme-Johnson said that the actions taken by MIT reflect the fact that the marijuana plant incident was not characteristic of the entire hall. “I think there are a lot of people on the hall who don’t participate or appreciate the lifestyle that a few adopted,” Orme-Johnson said. “The floor really hasn’t been punished.”

She stressed that MIT was looking to ensure that residents take such incidents seriously to prevent them in the future. The decisions announced yesterday were reached following discussions between deans, housemasters, the Graduate Resident Tutor, and residents.

Emilie M. Croisier ’03, one of the hall’s co-chairs, declined to comment on behalf of the hall regarding MIT’s actions.

Fourth West GRT Solar C. Olugebefola G and East Campus housemasters Julian K. Wheatley and Marjorie Nolan-Wheatley also declined to comment.

Fire alarms led CPs to hall

Campus police found a marijuana plant in Merkx’s room on Jan. 9 after responding to a fire alarm. Two days later, a beer keg was found after a second fire alarm on the hall, but the keg was empty and not registered to any resident.