MIT fraternities go dry after pledge nearly dies

by Maura Henninger Staff Writer | 9/30/97 5:00am

Fraternities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have agreed to temporarily ban parties with alcohol, two days after an MIT freshman nearly died of alcohol poisoning at his fraternity.

Phi Gamma Delta fraternity pledge Scott Krueger, 18, collapsed at a party on Saturday night. Krueger, who had a blood alcohol level of .410 percent, remains in a coma in a Boston hospital.

MIT campus police responded to a call from Phi Gamma Delta fraternity around midnight Saturday. Krueger had no pulse when emergency personnel arrived, but they were able to restart his heart before he was transported to the hospital.

To achieve such a high blood alcohol level, Krueger had to drink the equivalent of 16 shots of 80 proof vodka in less than an hour, according to reports in the Boston Globe.

After an emergency Sunday night meeting, the MIT Interfraternity Council decided to voluntarily suspend all alcohol-related events until "risk management policies have been reviewed," IFC President Iddo Gilon said.

In a prepared statement, MIT President Charles Vest said he is initiating "a comprehensive review of our policies and ... a campus-wide introspective dialogue."

Phi Gamma Delta has been suspended, which means were stripped of social privileges pending the completion of a university investigation.

MIT is not the only Massachusetts school where alcohol may have led to tragedy.

Authorities are investigating an incident which occurred over the weekend at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Early Saturday morning, student Adam Prentice, 21, fell through the roof of a glass greenhouse to his death.

Another student saw Prentice returning from a party moments before the incident occurred, according to the Boston Globe. UMass officials are waiting for toxicology reports to reveal whether Prentice was under the influence. Tests could take up to three weeks.

On August 27, a Louisiana State University student died after drinking excessive amounts during a fraternity rush period. These incidents have sparked a nationwide debate about binge-drinking on college campuses.

Dartmouth has not been exempt from serious alcohol-related incidents.

Several years ago, a fraternity pledge was taken to a cabin and forced to drink huge amounts of alcohol, according to Director of Health Services Jack Turco. When the student passed out, brothers dragged him to the road and managed to get him to a hospital.

The student survived, but a week later he didn't know whether to thank his brothers for saving his life or hate them for almost killing him, Turco said.

"At Dartmouth, and on most every college campus on any given weekend, there's drinking," Turco said. "Ninety-nine out of 100 times, nothing happens. But you're rolling dice. The fact that it hasn't happened here doesn't mean we're smarter or drink smarter."

Dean of the College Lee Pelton said the College's alcohol education programs are important and effective for prevention and rehabilitation.

"The important thing for our campus to realize is that if you have any position of responsibility, you shouldn't put anyone in the situation that coerces people into drinking," Turco said. "The only way to minimize the chances is to individually and organizationally minimize the excessive drinking."

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