Boston cops shut down MIT frat party that featured teen drinking and a waterfall running down a marble staircase

Boston Police report detectives ordered the immediate evacuation of several dozen non-residents at Phi Delta Theta, 97 Bay State Rd. on Sunday night after they discovered a place filled with both water from the ad-hoc waterfall and way too many people - including at least one hapless freshman with a Bud Light.

According to police, detectives from the licensing unit were on patrol around 11:50 p.m. on the first big weekend back for local college students when they noticed a line of people waiting to get into the frat house:

Upon approaching the residence, detectives observed a fraternity member restricting entry at the door and maintaining a mechanical count of persons inside which he reported to be 116 persons. After gaining entry, detectives immediately observed an 18-year-old male in possession of a can of Bud Lite. As the detectives continued to the first floor, detectives observed the occupancy to be well in excess of the posted City of Boston ISD Certificate that allows for 39 resident occupants in the dormitory. Detectives also observed the first floor was being operated as a nightclub with low light, strobe lights, and entertainment provided by a DJ without approval of the City of Boston License Division. The occupants had also installed a waterfall on an interior upper floor that allowed water to fall through the central stairwell, soaking the marble staircase and adding to the hazardous conditions presented by the excessive occupancy.

The chapter president, who probably doesn't look anything like this, will now have to go before the Boston Licensing Board to explain why the chapter shouldn't have its occupancy permit revoked for a citation that lists minor in possession of alcohol inside a licensed dormitory, overcrowding, having a DJ without approval and hazardous conditions inside a building.

In 2013, Boston banned large parties at MIT dorms on this side of the river after one rager in which a freshman managed to fall through a skylight.

Police Commissioner William Evans said he's not trying to be a party pooper, but Jesus, kids, you need to show some common sense:

Our goal is not to put a damper on students’ fun, but when we see conditions that put these students’ safety at risk - underage drinking, waterfalls down marble staircases, fire hazards and overcrowding - we are obligated to step in and shut it down.

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    Comments

    Speaking of fire hazards

    By on

    The day before this just a block down Bay State, Beta Theta Pi was lighting a flamethrower just outside the front door of their building. As I was walking by, whomever was allowed to use it at the time ended up accidentally dropping something lit onto the plywood "protecting" the "grass".

    Maybe MIT might want to think about reining in their fraternities a bit.

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    Grande Fiesta!!!

    Cerveza! Musica! Aqua! Luces!!!

    Tengo una piscina!

    The officers could have come in, shut down the party, made sure everyone was ok, complimented them on their ingenuity on working on their aquatic physics, told them sternly that 'this is your first and last warning", wished them all well in the school year and told them that if this happens again they will throw the book at them.

    They could make note of the fraternity president, the name of the teenage kid with the beer and put in a phone call to the appropriate people at MIT to put them on 'single secret probation'.

    Everyone would have gone home, impressed with how super cool the Boston cops are, increasing the town/gown camaraderie and hopefully building a more cooperative understanding between all sides.

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    True, but if there are any

    By on

    True, but if there are any cops whose priority is to look cool in front of a bunch of teenagers, they should probably be rethinking their career choice.

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    Que?

    Do you think you are someone who lives in a country where the persons are fee to do as they please? Soon the politicos will make you to get a permit for the posting of more than one of the capital letters in one sentence.

    You will need a badge!

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    I like that

    By on

    but they should have also threatened to charge them with possession of an unregistered waterfall.

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    Water water, everywhere

    I'm sure the building's actual owner will also be less than thrilled to learn they were flooding the place....

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    Actually, most houses are owned by their national fraternal org

    By on

    Not the local alumni corporations. But your broader point is definitely valid - trashing a multi-million dollar Back Bay building would not go over well with the owners (in fact, the national would probably be less forgiving of such shenanigans than the local alums).

    Having said that though, it's quite likely that the MIT ugrads designed this 'waterfall' well enough to mitigate any significant mess/damage - those marble stairs are carpeted, if memory serves. The waterfall wasn't running down the stairs - it was falling through the central stairwell. So those stairs were probably just getting misted. Slightly damp carpet doesn't really strike me as a major safety problem.

    Disclaimer - I'm a MIT alum who lived off campus. While I'm not a fan of the Phi Delts, I'm also well aware of BPD's tendency to sometimes overstate these things. Eg, 169 people in a five story building is sparser than any cocktail party you've ever been to. And while underage drinking is certainly illegal, one kid with one can out of 169 party goers? Not really Sodom.

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    Not at MIT

    By on

    The non-frats are owned by alumni corporations, and some of the frats are owned by their local alumni corporations.

    This particular frat, as shown by the property tax database, is owned by their alumni corporation - not the national.

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    Ownership

    By on

    I'm not sure of your source for that subject line, but in my experience as an officer for a national fraternity, that's not the case. They are owned by the school or by a local house corporation. I assume some nationals own the houses, but it would be a huge undertaking.

    From MIT:

    With the exception of Kappa Alpha Theta and Pi Beta Phi sorority and Kappa Sigma fraternity residences, the FSILGs are independently owned and operated by alumni house corporations not affiliated with the MIT FSILG Office, MIT Housing, or MIT Facilities. MIT is not responsible for the management and maintenance of these facilities.

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    I've been an alumni rep for my house at the MIT AILG

    By on

    I've been an alumni rep for my house at the MIT AILG (Association of Independent Living Groups). And when I was a ugrad, I was a rep on the MIT IFC (Interfraternity Council).

    Most MIT frats are owned by an alumni corporation, where either all or a majority of exec members are representatives from their respective national organizations. MIT has always preferred this sort of setup, and has used its considerable leverage on many occasions to discourage local ownership.

    This was the case for my own ilg's house. It was only very recently, after many years of serious effort, that we were able to effect a transfer of ownership to a wholly-local house corporation.

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    i.e.

    not owned by the kids doing stupid stuff. :)

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    Yesterday's kids

    By on

    Who did stupid stuff.

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    All yesterday's parties

    The assessor's database says that the building is owned by the alumni corporation. Those alumni owners were likely the kids who did stupid stuff when I lived across the street.

    What happened in 1985 stays in 1985.

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    So I guess you don't see the

    By on

    So I guess you don't see the horror in the fact that a wasted MIT student died falling through a skylight a few years back either.

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    It's not a matter of if, but when,

    By on

    Some shitfaced freshman / frat initiate dies of:

    Choking on his vomit after being left unconcious on the floor

    Falling off the roof

    ....etc., et., etc.

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    This does sound like another

    By on

    This does sound like another fraternity death waiting to happen; however, (and not to quibble with Evans), the waterfall was put in place specifically to cancel out the fire hazard.

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    Overreach?

    By on

    As the detectives continued to the first floor, detectives observed the occupancy to be well in excess of the posted City of Boston ISD Certificate that allows for 39 resident occupants in the dormitory.

    That's the number of people allowed to live and sleep there, not occupancy during social events.

    Duh. They can't even have an alumni meeting by that "logic".

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    "Sorry officer. If we were

    By on

    "Sorry officer. If we were to allow you inside, you would exceed our maximum occupancy and be a fire hazard."

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    Do you really need an

    By on

    Do you really need an entertainment license to have a DJ, if you're not charging admission?

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    Nice touch

    Gotta say, the waterfall is a nice touch. The closest we ever came to that was a kiddie pool for a beach party. I'm impressed.

    Any pics?

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    Early version description

    Not sure if it was these guys or TEP that had a proto something like this up and running 30 years ago.

    The basic setup is a reservoir (like a kiddy pool or an aquarium tank), a submersible pump, tubing to bring water to the top, and a runway for the water (sheet plastic with side structure) and someway to return water to the reservoir.

    I suspect that it has been innovated on in the intervening years and that technology has improved to make it exponentially cooler.

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    Can't wait for November

    By on

    By mid-November, the remaining students have had the worst of the dumb knocked off them, their allowance is starting to stretch thin, and the reality of the Boston climate and the academic calendar is setting in. They get a whole lot less bothersome around then.

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    Latest word is the guy caught

    By on

    Latest word is the guy caught with the beer sneaked it in himself. And it wasn't even open.

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