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LGC Votes To Secede From IFC

By Eun J. Lee

FEATURES EDITOR

The Living Group Council voted Sunday to begin preparing to secede from the Interfraternity Council.

In its move towards autonomy, the LGC is working on creating new risk management policies and other procedures to independently govern its member houses.

“Some houses will be solely under the LGC, and some may choose to be under both LGC and IFC jurisdiction,” said Lauren E. Owens ’03, LGC speaker to the IFC.

The actual move towards self-governance is expected to take place toward the beginning of spring semester, after the LGC forms its new governing procedures. Each LGC living group will make its own decision about whether to leave the IFC and join the LGC.

LGC addresses specific needs

As a separate governing body, the LGC hopes to better suit the needs of member houses.

“The IFC has acted as a very broad umbrella group that has tried to cover all the independent living groups in the past,” said Kaya Gerberich, a Student Life Programs LGC advisor and FSILG coordinator. “But LGC houses have diverse and specific needs, and they will benefit from being able to self-govern more effectively.”

The LGC was conceived in 1998 to give member houses a forum in which to address common concerns. It currently includes six member houses: Epsilon Theta, Fenway House, pika, Student House, Tau Epsilon Phi, and the Women’s Independent Living Group.

“The LGC was formed as a way for those ILGs to come together because they shared a lot of the same interests,” said Assistant Dean and Director of FSILGs David N. Rogers. Historically, all LGC houses have also been members of the IFC.

“There are a lot of IFC policies that aren’t applicable to LGC houses,” Owens said. “Houses prefer to be in a smaller group where their voices can be heard -- being one out of six as opposed to one out of 32.”

LGC member houses agree that the smaller forum allows them to focus on issues specifically facing them.

“[Secession] is in the best interests for the LGC as a body,” said Tau Epsilon Phi Chancellor Jason T. Rolfe ’03. “It’s similar to the difference between macromanagement and micromanagement -- being in a smaller group allows them to make decisions better tailored to their philosophical needs.”

The idea to form a wholly separate governing body for ILGs is not a new one, however. “This has definitely been a goal that LGC houses have wanted to accomplish for a long time -- it’s just gotten serious this past year,” Owens said.

IFC supports LGC decision

While the IFC will potentially lose some members, “The IFC is very supportive of [LGC’s decision],” said IFC Vice-President Amado G. Dehoyos ’04. “There have been times in the past where the IFC and LGC haven’t necessarily seen eye to eye on certain issues, but this will give them the opportunity to expand and grow on their own.”

Dehoyos says that the coming LGC secession will not change the IFC’s fundamental goals. “One of the big things we’ve been trying to be focused on is building community,” he said. “We’re still going to try to bridge our community with Panhel and LGC.”

Currently the presidents of all FILGs meet every two weeks to discuss issues affecting the community. Dehoyos hopes that these meetings will still take place after the LGC secedes. “Hopefully we’ll be able to bring leaders from the community together at least once a term and bring good things out of the meetings,” he said.

If the IFC member population is composed solely of fraternities in the future, Dehoyos says that this might mean “minor shifts to do things we might not have been able to do before.”

Some frats required to be in IFC

Many fraternities in the IFC are local chapters of national fraternities that require them to be members of a governing body.

The LGC fraternity Tau Epsilon Phi will not be able to leave the IFC because of these regulations. However, the house may still be a part of the newly independent LGC.

“These governing bodies have functions and advantages beyond just policing members, and members would derive these benefits,” Rolfe said.

However, there is no MIT regulation that requires fraternities or independent living groups to be part of any governing council like the IFC or LGC, according to Rogers.

Theoretically, an independent living group can choose to be independent of both the IFC and LGC as long as its national organization allows it. “Membership in the IFC and LGC provides benefits, but if it’s something [houses] think they can do autonomously, there’s nothing we can do to hold them back,” Dehoyos said.

“The rules don’t change,” Rogers said. “They still follow the same policies and procedures that govern all of the other living groups.”