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Simmons Still Under Review for 2004 Party

By Gabriel Fouasnon 
and Kelley Rivoire


STAFF REPORTERS

A year and a half after a birthday party involving underage drinking at Simmons Hall got out of hand, the dormitory is still feeling its impact, with the Cambridge License Commission voting last month to continue to review the dormitory’s efforts to curb underage drinking for another six months.

Over a year ago, the commission issued a warning to the dormitory requiring residents to create a social host training program as a consequence of the Oct. 2004 party, in which there was a stampede down 10 flights of stairs as students fled police.

Since then, Simmons has twice returned to the commission to assess its progress in completing the program.

Though representatives from both sides say the commission has responded positively to Simmons’ progress, each time, the commission has demanded that it return again, preventing the dormitory from shedding the albatross around its neck.

Andrew T. Lukmann ’07, Simmons president and Undergraduate Association president-elect, said that he and others at MIT were “caught off guard” by the License Commission’s most recent decision to once again extend its watch over Simmons. He said that at the meeting Commission Chair Richard V. Scali had said they would put the matter on file, normally meaning it was concluded, but that the commission then decided to hold the additional review.

“It was my feeling that we had accomplished the goals the CLC had set forth for us at the previous meetings,” Lukmann said, adding that at the same time he understands the commission’s “interest in seeing more MIT students trained to safely serve alcohol.”

Elizabeth Lint, executive director of the CLC, said that Simmons students have “made great strides, but the commissioners wanted to have them back again … just to make sure they stay on the right track.” She said that there was no specific reason that the commissioners wanted Simmons to report back in six months.

Lint called the continued monitoring “not abnormal,” but said she had no first-hand historical data for comparison.

On the other hand, Daniel Trujillo, MIT’s associate dean for community development and substance abuse programs, said of the lengthy review, “I think everyone would agree it’s unusual.” But he said that he was not surprised as the commissioners were probably interested in reviewing the further unfolding of Simmons’ work.

Lukmann said that at the meeting, prior to the commission’s decision, he had showed plans for further implementing the training program on campus over the summer and during the fall.

He expressed hope that MIT, in lieu of Simmons, will speak to the commission at the next meeting, showing that Simmons’ work has become a “campus-wide effort rather than a dormitory-specific effort.”

In Simmons’ prior report to the License Commission, held last fall, representatives of the dormitory had presented a draft version of a manual and plans for implementation, said Lukmann.

The commission requested at that time that Simmons report back for the meeting eventually held last month, where the manual would be finalized and implemented.