New FSILG policy allows use of some roof decks this term

Groups submit application to committee for approval

The Interfraternity Council, the Association of Independent Living Groups Board, and the AILG Facilities Committee have instated a new policy regarding approval for roof deck usage at fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups (FSILGs), overriding the existing prohibition of roof deck use.

The limits, effective since September 2013, prohibited the use of roof decks at all FSILGs until proper permits were acquired. This was accompanied by the IFC’s “Temporary Open Air Spaces Rule Provision” that prohibited the use of all roofs, roof decks, balconies, and ledges at fraternities in both Boston and Cambridge, even for those who had attained the proper licenses.

These changes came after an MIT freshman fell four stories through a skylight at Phi Sigma Kappa last September. Residents could access the skylight through an uninspected roof deck, prompting the city of Boston to express serious concerns about the use of such roof decks.

Now, each FSILG can gain permission to utilize their roof deck by submitting an application to the AILG Board and the AILG Facilities Committee.

The application entails calculating deck occupancy numbers using guidelines from the Facilities Committee, which are based on the square footage of the roof deck and the number of exits available. Roof decks at FSILGs in Boston must also be approved and certified by the city.

“It is important to note that the city of Boston roof deck certificates allow use by residents only, and parties are not permitted even on approved roof decks,” wrote Henry J. Humphreys, Senior Associate Dean of Residential Life and Dining, in an email to The Tech.

Nine applications have been submitted to the AILG so far and all nine — three in Boston, five in Cambridge, and one in Brookline — met the requirements and have been approved.

“The overall approval process took about two months,” wrote Joel R. Schneider ’15, president of MIT’s chapter of Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT), in an email to The Tech. Schneider applied for the approval of ZBT’s roof deck over the summer, and said that the process asked him to assess the occupancy limit of the roof deck and then submit a report to the AILG.

According to Schneider, the AILG approved an occupancy limit of 10 people for ZBT’s roof deck. He estimated that other FSILGs will have similar limits in the 10-20 range. Since it is in Brookline, ZBT is not under the restriction that the roof deck can only be used by residents, but Schneider says that the low occupancy limit will prohibit ZBT members from hosting rush events on the deck. As an additional safety precaution, Schneider has internally enforced a rule that a brother must be present on the roof deck whenever it is in use.

“While the low occupancy limit is unfortunate, the process of approving the roof deck, designing the signage, and getting signatures was very well laid out and the AILG was very supportive,” wrote Schneider.