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Probation Extended For Two Fraternities

By Waseem S. Daher


The MIT chapters of Theta Delta Chi and Lambda Chi Alpha fraternities are now one step away from losing their houses.

The Interfraternity Council’s organizational probations of TDC and LCA have been extended into 2005. Since sanctions placed on organizations can only be extended once, this means that any additional infraction by either TDC or LCA will necessarily result in suspension, according to the IFC Judicial Committee bylaws.

Organizational suspension of privileges includes “revoking social events, chapter housing privileges, recruitment (rush) and new member intake programs,” according to the bylaws.

Currently, the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity is the only MIT fraternity under IFC suspension.

“If they were to get into trouble for anything JudComm-related, they’d go up to level 3,” which is suspension, said IFC president Daniel H. Daneshvar ’05, referring to TDC and LCA.

TDC’s JudComm hearing was last Tuesday, April 20, and LCA’s was on Tuesday, April 6, said William R. Fowler ’05, chair of the IFC Judicial Committee.

TDC probation extended

Last summer, an incident occurred at TDC that involved alcohol, objects being thrown from the roofdeck, and party attendees taunting and swearing at the police.

Because of this incident, TDC was placed on organizational probation by the IFC JudComm. This probation included several conditions that TDC was required to follow.

Recently, it became clear that TDC was not in compliance with the conditions set by the IFC in response to the last incident, so they were brought before JudComm again.

“They were charged with non-compliance” with the terms of their previous probation, Fowler said. As a result of these charges, JudComm extended TDC’s probation.

Specifically, TDC was supposed to remain alcohol-free for the duration of its prohibition, which was slated to end on September 13, 2004.

However, TDC was found responsible for “not being dry,” Daneshvar said.

Furthermore, the original TDC decision required that TDC member James P. Wagner ’04 be banned from the house, following allegations by the police that he was one of the two main aggressors in the roofdeck incident.

TDC was found to be in non-compliance with this condition as well, Fowler said.

Lastly, TDC was supposed to “hold an internal risk management seminar by December 22, 2003,” but the seminar was never held, Fowler said.

As a result of this non-compliance, TDC now has its organizational probation extended by one year, until Sept. 13, 2005, Fowler said.

TDC President Paul J. Sierra ’05 said that “an appeal has been filed, and now it’s IFC JudComm’s decision.”

Extension adds new conditions

The probation extension also comes with some special conditions.

“They will not be able to participate in fall rush,” Fowler said. Furthermore, “their house is to remain alcohol-free,” and they may be subject to “unannounced searches of the premises” to ensure compliance, he said.

Furthermore, “the banned individual is to continue to be banned,” Daneshvar said, referring to Wagner.

In addition, TDC representatives must attend all meetings of the IFC Presidents’ Council and Delegates’ Council meetings, Fowler said.

Lastly, TDC must comply with their national organization’s mandates and all of the special conditions from the previous probation, he said.

Beyond the special conditions imposed by the IFC and TDC’s alumni and national organizations, the Cambridge License Commission had its own requirements of TDC.

The CLC required that TDC do something to change fellow fraternities’ attitudes toward alcohol and the police or face a 14-day suspension from their house during rush next fall.

TDC goes before the CLC today, where the CLC will decide whether their actions have been sufficient, or whether additional sanctions or other steps are necessary.

Keg found at LCA

“LCA was found with a keg in their house,” in violation of IFC rules, Daneshvar said.

The presence of kegs in houses is prohibited by IFC risk management policy. According to the IFC Policy for Risk Management, “Fraternities shall not have a tap system or kegs present in their house at any time.” As a direct result of this, LCA has also had its probation extended.

In addition, JudComm also found LCA responsible for purchasing alcohol for a minor, Fowler said.

Previously, LCA was “on probation for a number of risk management violations in the past during events with alcohol,” Fowler said. They had also appeared before JudComm for violations during a New Year’s Eve party, he said.

This renewed probation also comes with special conditions. Most notably, LCA must be “completely dry until May 22, 2005,” Fowler said.

In addition, they must serve as “the coordinating organization for the next Greek Week,” attend Presidents’ and Delegates’ Council meetings, attend “a number of meetings with their alumni,” and “work with their national [organization] to refocus on some of their values,” he said.

Daneshvar applauded LCA’s efforts to reform. LCA “has taken a very proactive role in their sanctioning,” he said.

They identified a lot of problems on their own, and “that’s something we like to see,” he said. “They’ve really stepped up in terms of risk management.”

“It seems like they’re ready to make some serious changes, which is good,” Daneshvar said.

“We’re looking forward to working through our term for the probation and returning to the full scene of Greek life by the end of next year,” said President of LCA Thomas V. Hennessey III ’05.

LCA is “pretty committed” to making sure not to violate the sanctions, he said.

“We’re pretty excited about organizing Greek Week,” Hennessey said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that are planning to put a lot of time and effort into it.”

Probation vs. suspension

The key difference between probation and suspension is that suspension mandates the revocation of rush, pledging, social events, and housing, whereas warning and probation do not necessarily require these special conditions, Fowler said.

This means that probation sanctions, in theory, could be merely status changes with no loss of privileges, he said.

It is worth noting that the special conditions imposed on TDC represent two of the four punishments required by the “organizational suspension of privileges” sanction.

The housing suspension is absent, as is the ban on social events. However, in keeping with the alcohol-free mandate of the special conditions, social events with alcohol are prohibited.

Daneshvar said that the reason for sanctioning fraternities “is education.”

“That’s what we’re trying to do, but we want to do so in a manner that isn’t detrimental to the community,” he said.