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Students May Be Punished For Party

By Brian C. Keegan

STAFF REPORTER

Simmons Hall is under intense scrutiny following an unregistered party that got out of control on the night of Oct. 9. The event involved more than 200 people entering Simmons through propped open doors, blocking or halting elevators to the 9th and 10th floors, and stampeding down 10 flights of stairs following the appearance of the MIT Police.

Simmons Housemaster Professor John M. Essigmann described the situation in an e-mail to sponge-talk@mit.edu: “Risks were taken. Things went badly.”

In the e-mail he described the crowds that entered Simmons as “flash mobs” that resulted from widespread advertising and rapid communication about the event using cell phones. The crowds were able to gain access to Simmons via two doors that were propped open on the Vassar Street side.

He wrote that “the security of our home was compromised and MIT was put at risk for loosing [sic] its license to operate Simmons as a lodging house in the City of Cambridge. Earlier this week, the Dean’s Office did consider some rather drastic sanctions for our dorm (including a total ban on social activities).”

The consequences for those responsible are still in the process of being decided by the MIT administration. They may face sanctions, fines, eviction, or other disciplinary action. However, a compromise was reached for the residents of Simmons Hall.

Dormitory Council President Ian Brelinsky ’06 declined to comment.

Compromise reached

Essigmann, who declined to be interviewed by phone, wrote in an e-mail that a compromise, in lieu of social sanctions, was reached with the dormitory’s Judicial Committee and the Dean’s Office where every Simmons resident will be required to attend at least one community meeting “to work out a local solution to the problem of out of control parties at Simmons.”

Essigmann wrote that Associate Dean for Student Life Programs Barbara A. Baker and Associate Professor Margery Resnick, chair of the Committee on Discipline, will meet this week to determine how MIT will handle the case. “They take into consideration the nature of the incident and how MIT has handled similar problems in the past,” he wrote.

A similar incident involving underage drinking occurred at Next House after two alcohol offenses in 2000. An underage female student required medical attention during a party on the third east wing of Next House in October, 2000.

Following that incident, the Cambridge License Commission and MIT reached a compromise requiring the whole dormitory to be dry for 3 months and third east specifically for 6 months. The alternative was for Next House to lose its lodging license, which would have required MIT to find rooming for 400 evicted students.