For Boston FSILG houses, temporary large events ban

Not allowed to hold events that exceed resident occupancy limit

MIT fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups (FSILGs) with houses in Boston are now prohibited from having events that would cause the number of individuals in their building to exceed their posted residential occupancy, Assistant Dean of FSILGs Marlena Martinez Love announced in an email Friday afternoon.

The email — sent to the Panhellenic Association (Panhel), Interfraternity Council (IFC), and Association of Independent Living Groups (AILG) — announced that following inspections of nine FSILG houses and discovery of “issues with building exit doors,” Boston-based FSILGs cannot hold parties or other large events in their houses until further notice.

This affects 19 of MIT’s 27 fraternities, 3 of the 6 sororities, and 2 of the 6 independent living groups. Brookline and Cambridge properties are not immediately affected, according to the email. With the same safety concerns in mind, however, the previously imposed assembly occupancy limit of three times the legal residential occupancy is still in place for those FSILG properties.

In a meeting last month with Boston’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD), the ISD’s Deputy Commissioner “requested that each property provide information justifying its current posted assembly occupancy figure.” In response to the ISD’s request, the AILG Board and the FSILG Office retained Tom Stohlman, the AILG’s Building Safety Facilitator, to survey the houses. After an inspection of nine properties, Boston ISD indicated that Boston cannot guarantee the safety of any of the MIT FSILG properties in Boston for assembly occupancy above the residential number.

“The concerns around assembly numbers are not related to a particular incident, but rather a number of FSILG-related issues,” wrote Henry J. Humphreys, Senior Associate Dean for Residential Life & Dining, in a statement to The Tech, when asked if the occupancy evaluation was related to the incident last month when a freshman survived a four-story fall through a skylight at a Phi Sigma Kappa party.

It is not known when Boston will issue new Certificates of Inspection with an updated assembly occupancy figure. “Residential Life & Dining and the Association of Independent Living Groups (AILG) are working on a timeline to have all of the houses reviewed and plans drafted,” wrote Humphreys. “The architect may not be able to complete all 39 reviews until December. Once his findings are submitted to the City of Boston, the City must also review the submissions prior to issuance of the certificates, which we hope will take no more than a few weeks.” The assembly occupancy limit will not be revised until the new certificates are issued.

“MIT is well aware of the hardship this will pose for our Boston-based organizations,” wrote Love in Friday’s email. “MIT will support our community during this temporary occupancy restriction.” Humphreys and Dean for Student Life Chris Colombo will be meeting with IFC, Panhel, and Living Group Council (LGC) leaders to discuss options for hosting large events. “Groups are able to host events outside of their facilities, and Residential Life & Dining is working with other stakeholders to identify spaces on campus for groups to use,” wrote Humphreys.

FSILGs will learn more about the situation at a meeting this Thursday evening.

Anonymous over 10 years ago

"The concerns around assembly numbers are not related to a particular incident"

Ok, whatever. I'm sure it's a big coincidence that frats have been allowed to have gatherings for the past 120 years, until suddenly Boston decided this was a problem right after someone fell through a skylight.

Anonymous over 10 years ago

Is this constitutional? What happened to the First Amendment?

DW over 10 years ago

#2, buildings have -always- had occupancy limits. This has literally nothing to do with our right to assembly.

Moreover, as students, what first amendment?

Anonymous over 10 years ago

Being students doesn't mean you don't have First Amendment rights. 1- this isn't high school where schools are deemed to be in local parentis. 2- this is Boston acting, not MIT, so the First Amendment still applies 3. having a limit on residency is normal, but saying you can't have more people in the building as you can have people living in there inherently restricts your freedom to associate. I live in a one bedroom apartment, but I'm allowed to have more than 2 people over for dinner, even if I'm limited to having 2 people living there as a city ordinance. If my city decided to restrict me to only having 2 people over, ever, then we would have a 1A problem, and I would be contesting it.

rcp12 over 10 years ago

Here are some trial notes to fight this case: