MIT shutters fraternity after woman’s fall

MIT is shutting down a fraternity because of poor conduct and is forcing members to move out of the group’s off-campus house in Boston this weekend, the school’s chancellor said.

University officials did not specify the conduct that led to the action against the Lambda Chi Alpha house, which included stripping the fraternity of its university recognition as an official student group. But a woman was injured in a fall from a window during a party at the house this semester, and the group has faced scrutiny and activity restrictions since.

The incident was not the sole reason the chapter is being shuttered, according to Haldun Anil, a senior at MIT and president of the Interfraternity Council. The group had compiled “a history of persistent and troubling behaviors” and was facing “multiple pending judicial cases,” Anil wrote in a message to the leaders of MIT’s Greek organizations Thursday.


MIT said its move was prompted in part by a decision the fraternity’s international organization announced on Thursday to suspend the MIT chapter for at least five years due to “conduct that does not support the fraternity’s priority of providing a healthy chapter environment for its members.”

MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart said the fraternity “has fallen short of the MIT community’s expectations, to our great disappointment.”

“It is my hope that this incident will reveal itself as a learning opportunity for those involved,” Barnhart wrote.

An investigation was launched and the fraternity was suspended after a college student who did not attend MIT was injured when she fell from a third-story window during a rush week party at the house two months ago. Amid concern that the party had violated rules that ban gatherings of 50 or more, the case led MIT officials to reaffirm a year-old ban on large parties at university-affiliated fraternities, sororities, and living groups. That ban was first imposed after an MIT student fell four stories through a skylight at a party last fall at another nearby fraternity.


The 45 students living at the Lambda Chi Alpha house, at 99 Bay State Road in Boston, must leave by Sunday, university officials said. On-campus housing will be available to members for the rest of this semester, and campus officials will help students relocate and find housing for the spring semester.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau Follow him on Twitter @mrochele