The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 46.0°F | Overcast

Frats Housing Frosh Not Punished

By Marie Thibault


Four fraternities found to have violated MIT’s new rule against freshmen living off campus did not receive a punishment from the Interfraternity Council or MIT, but were sent a letter by two deans.

The fraternities were sent a letter from Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict, and Dean for Undergraduate Education Robert P. Redwine, wrote Julie B. Norman, associate dean for Academic Resources and Programming, in an e-mail.

Because no formal complaints were filed, no investigation was ever started, said William R. Fowler ’05, Interfraternity Council Judicial Committee chair.

The fraternities were accused of allowing freshmen to live in their houses on a regular basis, although there was “never any evidence to support the claim,” he said.

Daniel H. Daneshvar ’05, President of the Interfraternity Council, said that by MIT rules, freshmen must live in one of eleven dormitories on campus. He said that the IFC is responsible for ensuring the enforcement of this rule.

No formal complaint filed

Though the IFC is in charge of ensuring that freshmen do not live in fraternities, the incidents last spring were dealt with by the administration.

Sending the letters to the fraternities was “a little bit unusual,” Fowler said, but that the deans wanted to address the problem. He said that the objective of sending the letters was just to get the freshmen back on campus.

The administration never filed a formal complaint. Dean Redwine said that “MIT is a place where... we need to be appropriately understanding and flexible.” He also said that MIT hasn’t really had this rule for very long, and that the “right way” to deal with the incidents was to talk to the individuals.

Fowler said he did not think the rule would be easier to enforce if a formal complaint had been filed last spring.

Defining ‘living’ in a fraternity

A special session of the Presidents’ Council was convened by Daneshvar to define what it means to “live” in a fraternity, he said.

A draft definition was submitted to a review board, he said, though it has not been passed yet. Under this definition, if a fraternity is requiring a freshman to pay any part of the fraternity house’s fixed cost, that freshman would be considered to be living in the fraternity, Fowler said.

In addition, if a freshman spends the majority of his time at a fraternity, sleeps there regularly, or stays at the fraternity past the time of the last SafeRide route on a “continual basis,” then this would constitute his living in a fraternity, Fowler said.

However, the “proportion of time” that constitutes a continual basis is “still under discussion in Presidents’ Council,” Fowler said.

Last spring had ‘isolated cases’

Fowler said that the IFC is not “actively seeking to get anyone in trouble,” but if a rule violation is brought to their attention, the matter will be looked into. There are no spot-checks on fraternities regarding the no-freshman policy.

Daneshvar said that he had not heard of any cases of freshmen living in fraternities this school year. The fraternities realize that it “is in their best interest to make sure they are adhering to this rule,” he said.

Fowler said that the incidents last spring were “isolated cases.” The fraternities have been abiding by the rule without incident, he said.