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ATO Violations Lead To 2-Year Sanctions

By Jenny Zhang


Alpha Tau Omega was sentenced to a sanction to last until 2005 for violating party risk management rules at an Interfraternity Council President’s Council meeting two weeks ago, said David J. Ostlund ’04, president of ATO.

In a mid-November party, ATO reached its party occupancy limit and did not allow more people to enter. A crowd began to gather outside ATO and “got unruly,” Ostlund said. The crowd was unresponsive to orders to leave and attracted the attention of campus police, Ostlund said.

A student government official speaking on condition of anonymity said that the sanction involved alcohol restrictions but would not be more specific.

Ostlund would not comment on the details of the sanction.

Hearing, appeal followed party

ATO underwent a hearing with a disciplinary board consisting of administration deans and students in early February, Ostlund said, and the sanction was decided on shortly thereafter.

“We did not understand that we had to manage the crowd outside, but realize that it was our party and that we created an unsafe environment,” Ostlund said. He said that the crowd did not consist of ATO members or MIT students.

Ostlund said ATO soon appealed the decision to Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict on procedural grounds, saying that ATO did not receive a list of members on the hearing board 48 hours in advance as required.

Ostlund said that he first saw the letter denying the appeal on April 2 at an IFC meeting, but that it was dated March 25.

ATO looks to the future

ATO is actively working with the IFC and deans in light of the sanction, Ostlund said. “We are taking steps to correct the problem, and coming together as a fraternity,” Ostlund said.

Interfraternity Council President Lawrence W. Colagiovanni ’04 said, “I’ve been working with Dave [Ostlund] about how to make the house more proactive, and encourage more interaction with Deans [Steven J.] Tyrell and [Daniel] Trujillo.”

Tyrell is the associate dean for student conflict resolution and discipline, and Trujillo is the associate dean for alcohol education and community development.

“I like Dave and look forward to working with ATO. I am confident that things will turn out well,” Colagiovanni said.

Ostlund also believes there is a possibility that the sanction can be lifted or relaxed with good behavior from ATO.

JudComm to hold future hearings

ATO’s case was heard by an administrative disciplinary committee, but future fraternity hearings will be held by the IFC Judicial Committee, Colagiovanni said.

JudComm was not prepared to take ATO’s case at the time, but now there are people trained to do handle the hearings, he said. JudComm members come from the fraternities.

“So far, it has been very quiet -- Judcomm has not had any hearings, Colagiovanni said.

“We rewrote the [risk management] bylaws over IAP, not to change them, but to edit legal terms, general legal rules, and wording to make the rules clearer,” JudComm chair David Gottlieb ’03 said.

Decisions on appropriate sanctions “really depend on what happened, and whether it is the first or second offense,” Gottlieb said.