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Police Broke Up AEPi Party, Found Alcohol

By Suzanne Smalley


Boston police broke up a fraternity party late Friday night, finding 51 bottles of liquor and liqueur, more than 15 gallons of Bud Light, a blocked fire exit, and 35 underage drinkers inside the Alpha Epsilon Pi house near Kenmore Square, police spokesman John Boyle said yesterday.

The party involved students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other area universities. The action occurred as police were putting the final touches on their security plan for controlling the students who were expected to spill into Kenmore Square on Sunday night if the Patriots won the Super Bowl.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Police Commissioner Kathleen M. O'Toole announced in January that they would crack down on public drinking, vandalism, and loud parties by students. The new plan, Operation Student Shield, was a response to the death of Emerson College student Victoria Snelgrove in October as police tried to control packs of young people celebrating the Red Sox American League championship victory.

As part of the operation, officers were patrolling near a house at 165 Bay State Road on Friday night when they saw party guests in the street, drinking from red plastic cups, Boyle said. The officers also observed a young man enter the fraternity house with a case of beer.

When the police knocked on the fraternity house door, Boyle said, it was opened by a person drinking from a red plastic cup similar to the cups police saw students holding in the street.

The student told officers a party was being held in the basement. When detectives entered the basement they saw about 40 young men and women, many of whom were drinking from red plastic cups and appeared to be underage.

Boston police called MIT police to help inspect the fraternity house, where officers found a bar containing dozens of bottles of rum, vodka, and other liquors, as well as three Bud Light containers holding about five gallons of beer apiece. Near the bar, detectives also found evidence of the drinking game beer pong, Boyle said. There, several pitchers of beer and plastic cups filled with beer littered a table top.

The president of the fraternity, who is not underage, took responsibility for the party when detectives asked for the person in charge.

Detectives also found an industrial-sized vacuum cleaner blocking one fire exit and another exit that was locked.

Boyle said the fraternity house had a license from the City of Boston Licensing Board, which issues alcohol licenses to public premises. Police could not say which kind of license the fraternity held, but Boyle said it was issued a licensed-premise violation and representatives will have to appear in court for serving alcohol to minors, keeping and exposing alcohol, a locked fire exit, and a blocked fire exit. Boyle said criminal complaints against the keepers of the fraternity house will be sought in Roxbury District Court this week.

Students who answered the fraternity house door yesterday declined to comment.

MIT has paid close attention to the issue of student alcohol abuse since a freshman died from binge-drinking after undergoing fraternity hazing in 1997. In 2002, MIT became the first university in the country to hire an administrator to manage alcohol use by students.

MIT spokeswoman Sarah Wright said yesterday that the majority of the 35 underage students found at the party were not MIT students. The fraternity has not had a history of problems, Wright said. Wright could not say why Boston police called MIT police if most of the students were not attending MIT.