The national organization of Lambda Chi Alpha announced Thursday that it had suspended the MIT chapter of LCA for at least five years. The MIT News Office said that the brothers of the fraternity would be required to move out by Sunday and that the building would close.
A woman unaffiliated with MIT had survived a fall from a window at the fraternity during a rush week party, resulting in a temporary suspension for LCA and the reintroduction of assembly limits for MIT fraternities that had been eased just the week before. But according to an email sent to fraternity presidents by Interfraternity Council president Haldun Anil ’15, “[I]t is incorrect to attribute this decision completely” to that incident.
Anil wrote that up until their closure, “LCA had been facing multiple pending judicial cases, which included cases of noncompliance with previously issued sanctions and noncompliance with AILG [Association of Independent Living Groups], IFC, and MIT policy.” He added that the IFC judicial committee had heard several cases against LCA and that “social probation” had been imposed on the fraternity twice in the past three years.
Anil said that LCA allegedly held an unsanctioned party during this temporary suspension, and as a result, the chapter agreed to a zero-tolerance policy against alcohol in the house to be enforced by random inspection. He said that two inspections were held and that the fraternity failed both, with “non-negligible amounts of alcohol discovered in each case.”
Anil continued, “In light of these incidents along with a history of behaviors that we believe jeopardized the longevity of our community, the IFC Executive Committee unanimously supports the closure decision,” citing “a history of persistent and troubling behaviors exhibited by LCA.” The press release from the national organization did not provide a specific reason for its decision, saying only, “[W]e are unable to provide a healthy chapter environment for our collegiate members at this time,” quoting its director of chapter services Nick Zuniga.
MIT dean for student life Chris Colombo said in MIT’s press release that on-campus housing would be made available to LCA members for the rest of the semester. Of the swift closure, he wrote that LCA’s “inability to adhere to certain standards” has had “reputational consequences for all of the other FSILGs.”
He added, “MIT determined that allowing [MIT LCA] chapter members to continue to live in the chapter house even after having been suspended by the national chapter would introduce further risk to the FSILG system as a whole.”
MIT and the IFC reiterated that the decision comes from the national organization, and that they subsequently also recognized the suspension. A similar situation occurred when the MIT Delta Upsilon chapter was suspended by their national organization in April. Before the DU suspension, fraternity suspensions at MIT had typically been imposed by the IFC judicial committee.
Anil told The Tech that the IFC had been notified of the decision only shortly before the release of the MIT News Office article Thursday evening. The national organization said Zuniga was at MIT to meet with chapter members regarding the suspension.
In December 2012, the MIT police released a bulletin stating it had received three anonymous reports of sexual assault occurring at LCA that November, but stated there were no ongoing investigations as a result. Those incidents were not mentioned in the MIT, IFC, or LCA national chapter announcements.
The Institute and national chapter both indicated in interest in considering a recolonization of an LCA chapter at MIT after the end of the suspension.