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New restrictions on FSILG roof deck use

On Thursday afternoon, Fraternity, Sorority, and Independent Living Group presidents received an email from Assistant Dean of FSILGs Marlena Martinez-Love, Senior Associate Dean for Students Henry J. Humphreys, and Chair of the Association of Independent Living Groups Steve Baker ’84 stating that, effective immediately, the use of all roof decks should cease pending inspections by the presiding city. In addition, all FSILG events may not host no more than three times the legal occupancy listed on their dormitory license until an agreement is reached with the cities on assembly occupancy. These restrictions come on the heels of an MIT freshman falling four stories through a skylight of Phi Sigma Kappa, which was accessible from an uninspected roof deck. (The freshman sustained no life-threatening injuries.)

The email stresses that even if roof decks clear inspections, they will be available solely for use by residents, and never to be used to host social gatherings.

“Based on recent events, the city of Boston has expressed serious concerns about the size and use of FSILG residential facilities and the use of non-permitted roof decks,” the email reads. “The City has put MIT and the AILG on notice about these concerns and has asked that we address them immediately and reconvene with the City in one month to demonstrate progress on implementing proper safety measures for roof deck access and the size of social events.”

To review criterion for permitted assembly size, all property owners must submit documentation to their respective city for review. If the documentation is not submitted, including egress plans and how the numbers were derived, any number of guests beyond the current residential occupancy listing may be prohibited.

No matter what the occupancy listing, until the building owners of roof decks also supply supporting documents that a permit was pulled at the time of construction and that it meets the codes in the place at the time that it was built. Social events will only be permitted if higher levels of assembly codes are met, including but not limited to, elevator access, emergency lighting, and two points of egress. Because very few FSILG roof decks meet these specifications (most houses do not even have elevators), it is unlikely that many of them will be up to code to be cleared for use during social gatherings.

—Stan Gill