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Tech’s Editorial Unfair to FSILGs

The Tech’s Nov. 8 editorial entitled “The Reality of Freshmen On Campus” took a valid concern that freshmen are moving into fraternities rather than staying in their dorms, and used it to vilify MIT’s FSILG community.

The editorial states that “the best ways to prevent another Scott Krueger [are] enforcing a more responsible alcohol policy [and] educating students from their first day on campus,” while dismissing five years of FSILG policy reform without a passing mention.

Such prevention strategies are exactly what the IFC is trying to accomplish. It has a very strict code of rules limiting how alcohol may be served, and to whom. As most readers already know, houses that violate these rules are quickly punished. Furthermore, the IFC sponsors TIPS training and legal liability seminars for its members. It requires that all high office holders and a majority of all members take advantage of these educational opportunities.

All of MIT’s sororities, as well as some of our fraternities and independent living groups, are dry. But whether a house is dry or not, the IFC’s Risk Management policy explicitly forbids even the presence of alcohol at any pledge activity. This policy governs both fraternities and LGC houses. That, along with Panhel’s national rules, means not a single house is having alcoholic pledge events.

The Tech implies that a fraternity is the only possible setting in which alcohol can be a problem. However, fraternities are not the only place where underage students have access to alcohol and other mind-altering substances, and The Tech seems to be unaware of basic facts about MIT’s off-campus housing. “A dormitory room,” the editorial says, “might provide refuge from an alcohol-soaked pledge incident, but it is naive to rely on dorm rooms down the road or across the river for safety.” Dorms are not the safe haven that this author seems to believe them to be.

Does The Tech truly believe that freshmen never have access to alcohol except at fraternities? That if students remained within the confines of Baker until their 21st birthday, no one would ever offer them a beer? Since Krueger’s death, the dormitory system has seen more than one hospitalization due to drug or alcohol abuse. Fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups have also had problems.

To suggest, as The Tech did, that one system is blameless while the other is wholly without merit, is inaccurate and inappropriate.

Mira Wilczek ‘03
IFC External Relations Chair