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IFC Judicial Committee Decision Letter

October 15, 2003

Brandon Hohm

President Delta Kappa Epsilon

403 Memorial Dr.

Cambridge, MA 02139

RE: Notice of Disciplinary Decision

Brandon,

On October 15, 2003, the IFC Judicial Committee Review Board met to hear a case involving your Fraternity. Specifically, the Review Board heard arguments involving an event that took place on August 23rd, 2003. The Board carefully examined the evidence submitted and the testimony given by Sergeant Doyle and members of Delta Kappa Epsilon. Taking all of the above into the account, the Review Board has reached a decision.

The Board unanimously felt that your house was responsible for the following charges.

1. Your Fraternity failed to register an event with the IFC/Institute.

2. The event conducted was prohibited during this time period.

3. No one checked IDs of participants to insure minors were not served.

4. The access to alcohol was not monitored.

5. The BYOB requirement was not followed by members of DKE.

Unanimously, they voted to render a decision of Organizational Suspension of Privileges through October 23, 2004. As stated in Article VII, Section D part 3:

Organizational Suspension of Privilegesa decision of suspension of privileges includes revoking social events, chapter housing privileges, recruitment (rush) and new member intake programs (pledges).

In addition, the following special condition must be met as a part of your of suspension:

1. During your suspension period, your organization must complete a comprehensive evaluation of all aspects of chapter life. This comprehensive evaluation includes intervention efforts to effect positive change in the organization’s culture regarding its’ relationship with the IFC and the MIT community as it relates to leadership, communication, recruitment programs, academic intervention programs, community service, disciplinary hearing boards, constitutional and organizational structures, risk management practices. In order to complete this requirement successfully, the leadership of the organization must begin to meet weekly with the staff in the FSILG office and begin working on each of these issues. In addition, this intervention program must include the membership revisiting its’ core values and how they are congruent with that of the IFC and the Institute. This self-assessment will drive all future discussions regarding the other topics noted above. The intention of this special condition is to help you recalibrate the direction and activities of the fraternity so that you can be successful upon your return.

Charge Explanation

For the first charge, based on the undisputed facts of the case, there were 15-20 brothers, 5-10 alums/boarders and 25-30 guests. Since alums/boarders count as guests, there were 15-20 brothers to 30-40 guests. This guest:brother ratio ranges from 1.5:1 to 2:1, which is above the 1:1 ratio established for registering an event. The rule regarding alums and boarders counting as guests was discussed at President’s Council. In addition, it has been stated by various people that if there is a question about whether or not to register an event, go ahead and register it just to be safe.

In regards to the charge that no one checked IDs to insure that minors were being served, Sergeant Doyle’s testimony that no one had wristbands or non-washable marks on their hands and that Sergeant Doyle stated that he identified freshmen that were consuming alcohol, was the main evidence for finding your Fraternity responsible for the charge. Based on Lucas’ testimony claiming that the alcohol was centrally located on a table and your quote in the police stating that no one monitored the alcohol flow because you “trusted them not to drink if they were underage,” the Board felt that your house responsible for that charge as well. The BYOB rule is that each person brings a 6 pack at most for themselves and they have to check the beer at the door in exchange for 6 drink tickets. The beer is then taken to a monitored area and is only given out one at a time when the person presents their drink ticket. A sports team bringing beer for their own team is not an example of BYOB.

While the Board believes that you house should have registered the party, even if this was not the case, the Board was extremely disappointed to hear that your house believed that since you did not have to register the party, you did not have to follow all the rules associated with events. The Risk Management rules exist for all types of events and should be followed every time. The reason why the IFC does not require houses to register events less than 1:1 is that the IFC trusts houses to follow the rules on their own. The IFC believes that above a 1:1 ration, houses need a check by other people to make sure all the policies are not overlooked, thereby avoiding potential risks.

Finally, the Board believed that you and your house should have been fully aware of the IFC rush rules and situations that were not allowed. All of the members of the board remember hearing the information at President’s Council, the IFC Rush meetings and/or through people in their respective houses. The Board concluded that your house was responsible for knowing the rules and therefore, responsible for conducting an event during a time0 period were events were prohibited.

Implications

Your event on August 23rd could have had significant consequences both for Delta Kappa Epsilon and the whole IFC community. Brandon, you claimed that your actions and state of being were the main reason for the report being filed and that you, not your house, should take the blame. More concisely, the house should not be held responsible for the actions of a single brother. In this circumstance, it could not be further from the truth. First, even if you displayed the proper behavior towards Sergeant Doyle, the Board believed that the actions and events Sergeant Doyle witnessed inside your house were sufficient to warrant the same report. More importantly, the house can, and in this case should be, held responsible for the actions of a single brother. You are the president of your house and in the eyes of the IFC, MIT and the CLC, you are the person associated with your house. Your actions can dictate the opinions others have of DKE. Therefore, it is the responsibility of Delta Kappa Epsilon to elect a president who will maintain a respectable image. Furthermore, it is the duty of DKE to make sure the president continues to portray a positive image. This is probably one of the best cases for a Fraternity being held responsible for the actions of an individual brother.

On a larger scale, the event DKE held threatened the future privileges for the rest of the IFC community. As I started to explain at today’s hearing, the IFC Executive Committee fought very hard to get the administration to allow the week in between the end of orientation and the start of rush to be wet. The stipulation was that from pre-orientation to the end of orientation be dry and at no point should any freshmen possess alcohol from and/or in a Fraternity. When your house violated this rule, the administration does not see DKE as the sole violators. Instead, they believe that the whole Fraternity system cannot be trusted to adhere to the compromise. The actions of one brother can be detrimental to the whole Fraternity and the actions of one Fraternity can be detrimental to the whole IFC. The potential risk that Delta Kappa Epsilon presented to the hard work of the IFC community was utterly unacceptable.

Previous History

While the Board considered the actions of August 23rd to be a gross violation of the IFC Risk Management Policy and Rush Rules, it most likely was not severe enough to warrant a suspension. However, looking at your previous history in the last 3 years (which is the time frame the Review Board considers as stated in Article VII Section C of the Judicial Committee Bylaws), the Board felt that appropriate sanction was Organizational Suspension of Privileges.

The first incident was on November 2, 2001, and involved members of DKE bringing an igloo of beer to a hockey game. The Campus Police caught them with it and IDed the individuals. Based on the findings the police went to DKE where they asked the president at the time, John Paul Shen, for a tour. On the tour, a keg was discovered. Kegs are of course, a clear (and severe) violation of the IFC Risk Management Policy. The resulting hearing on December 7, 2001 led to a few sanctions, of which the most notable was that DKE was prohibited from holding any events with alcohol in the chapter facility until March 9, 2002.

The next incident was in fact, a series of incidents spanning from Campus Preview Weekend 2002 through a hearing on September 10, 2002. The first in the series was DKE being found responsible for violating the No-Alcohol policy during CPW 2002 (which is as bad as, if not worse than, violating the No-Alcohol policy outlined in this year’s Rush Rules). The rest of the incidents occurred during the summer of 2002 where the police reported that members of DKE were “throwing light bulbs at pedestrians walking by, the malicious discharge of a fire extinguisher, the presence of a keg and tap system in the chapter house, a house fire, code violations, and complaints from summer borders regarding the cleanliness of the chapter house and inappropriate behavior of DKE brothers, including urinating in the hallways” (August 25, 2002 report from Dean Rogers). After a hearing on September 10, 2002, a slew of sanctions were levied. The most notable are that from the hearing date until April 1, 2003, the chapter was placed on social probation (details contained in 9/10/02 decision letter), and from April 1, 2003 to April 1, 2004, the chapter was on Chapter Probation (again, details contained in 9/10/02 decision letter). It is important to note that the current violations occurred while DKE is currently on Chapter Probation.

The previous two incidents as well as the current incident are all severe violations by themselves. What makes it worse is that all three incidents have occurred in a relatively short time frame, including a period where one incident overlaps with a previous sanction. In addition, each incident has a striking similarity to at least one of the other incidents. For example, in the first two incidents, there was a keg present in the house. Again, a keg is a severe violation and the fact that it was present more than one time in a span of less than a year is intolerable. Another example is the violation of No-Alcohol policies surrounding “Rush” time periods as well as periods involving the abundance of students the administration feels strongly about not being given alcohol (pre-frosh and new freshmen). The first incident occurred during CPW and the latest incident during Pre-Orientation/Orientation. All of this is topped off with the current incident violating the terms of the probation from the second incident.

The decision by the Board was not reached quickly or easily. The Board mulled over whether Delta Kappa Epsilon was properly notified of their detrimental behavior as well as the severity of sanction that could result from a future incident. In addition, the Board asked whether DKE had been given the opportunity and provided with the resources to remedy their problems. Looking at the details from the previous incidents the Board felt that the answer to both of the previous questions is yes. Considering the severity of each incident, the striking similarities between all the incidents and the potential risk Delta Kappa Epsilon’s actions have posed to the IFC; the Review Board felt that the most justified sanction was Organizational Suspension of Privileges.

It is necessary to point out that this sanction does have an education component. The Review Board wants to see Delta Kappa Epsilon come back after your suspension and thrive in the community. The Board whole-heartily believes that if members of DKE commit themselves to adhering to the special condition of this sanction, there is no reason that DKE will not come back stronger than ever and will avoid incidents that would result in DKE appearing before the Review Board.

As stated in Article VIII of the Judicial Committee Bylaws, you have the right to submit a written appeal to me by Thursday, October 23, 2003. The grounds for appeal are outlined in the Bylaws. After you submit the appeal to me, Will (the Review Board Secretary) and I will form a 3-person panel composed of members who did not participate in the original hearing. They will review your appeal and follow the guidelines set forth in Article VIII.

If you have any questions about the rationale behind the decision, feel free to contact me at (617) 461-7931 or davegot@mit.edu.

Sincerely,

David Gottlieb

IFC Judicial Committee Chair

Cc: Steve Tyrell, Associate Dean for Student Conflict Resolution and Discipline

David Rogers, Assistant Dean and Director of Fraternities, Sororities and Independent Living Groups

Larry Colagiovanni, IFC President

Sergeant Doyle, MIT Police, Complainant