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Institute Warns FSILGs Not to Let Frosh Move In

By Marissa Vogt


The administration appears to be guarding against the possibility that freshmen who have pledged fraternities may attempt to move into fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups.

A recent e-mail to leaders of FSILGs stated that housing freshmen could cost them financial support from the Institute.

Associate Dean for Student Life Programs Barbara A. Baker, one of the authors of the message, said that the purpose of the e-mail was to “get the word out to remind fraternities” of MIT’s policy of housing all freshmen on campus and outline possible disciplinary actions.

“Both freshmen and the fraternities that house them, will be in direct violation of this policy, and both the student and the fraternity will jeopardize their Good Standing with the Institute and may be subject to a judicial hearing,” the e-mail said.

Baker said the e-mail was sent in response to questions from parents and information from other students and the housing office, and was not the result of any particular violation of MIT’s policy.

Financial support at risk

Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict said that any disciplinary action taken would depend on the fraternity and the individual, though the e-mail sent out by Baker and David N. Rogers, associate dean and director of FSILGs, threatened to revoke financial support from fraternities that are housing freshmen.

“[FSILGs] found responsible for violating this policy will also be in jeopardy of forfeiting their Financial Transition Reimbursement,” the e-mail said.

“There is no pre-determined sanction,” Benedict said. “Our goal is to keep freshmen on campus and to support the fraternities. We cannot support them by having them move their freshmen into the house.”

Baker said that her office is consulting with the Interfraternity Council to determine methods of enforcing MIT’s policy.

IFC President Lawrence W. Colagiovanni ’04 said that he is in the same position as Baker and Rogers regarding violations.

“I’m not about taking money away. If it comes to that, I’d like to see the IFC work with the Student Life office and the fraternities,” said Colagiovanni.

Actions that violate policy unclear

The e-mail acknowledged that “it is understandable for freshmen to sleep over or ‘crash’ at the house,” but did not draw any specific lines between spending time at the house and living there.

“I haven’t heard of a line. What I’ve been telling presidents is its about perception,” Rogers said. “If it is perceived that they’re living in the fraternity house we’ll have to address that issue.”

While both Baker and Rogers said that there have been no specific violations of MIT’s policy, Rogers said there was one particular case where they did question a fraternity and an individual.

Presidents of several fraternities declined to comment on whether or not freshmen were currently living in the fraternity house, saying only that they were aware of MIT’s policy.

Freshmen who recently declared sophomore standing are also not allowed to live in fraternities because sophomore standing is only an academic status, said Associate Dean of Academic Resources and Programming Julie B. Norman.

“If this is their first year of being at MIT the issue has less to do with formal class standing and more to do with this being their first year living at MIT,” Baker said.

In the meantime, the IFC is focusing its energy on keeping freshmen from taking the non-residential option for next year.

“In the past it’s never really been an option. Now it’s a lot more viable,” Colagiovanni said.

Freshmen will have to confirm whether or not they will want Institute housing for next year by March 7, but the IFC wants to push that date back to give them more time to allow conversations with and provide financial incentives to freshmen, Colagiovanni said.