Fraternities, beginning in 1873, were the first organized housing at MIT, eight years after MIT opened its classroom doors in Boston in 1865. By 1916, when MIT moved across the Charles River to its new campus in Cambridge and built the first MIT dormitory, there were at least 20 fraternities, 19 of which are still active in 1998.
46 Choices for Residence
As of the fall of 1998, there are 36 active residential fraternities, sororities and independent living groups (FSILGs). These include 27 fraternities, three sororities, one women's independent living group, and five co-ed independent living groups. This is one less than last year -- the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity of Scott Krueger has been closed and is now defunct. Most of the FSILGs are independently owned, usually by corporations formed by the MIT alumni/ae of the FSILG.
The 36 FSILGs are chosen by about one-third of the approximately 4,400 undergraduates as their place of residence. The other two-thirds of the undergraduates, about 3,000, choose one of the 10 campus dormitories, built or acquired between 1916 and 1982, for their residence. Sophomores through seniors may request off-campus housing.
New Dorm Planned
A new campus dormitory with about 350 beds, planned for completion in the Fall of 2001, will provide enough space so that all freshman will be housed on campus. All the MIT dorms and FSILGs house students from the freshman through senior years, and that policy will remain; there is no segregated freshman housing.
Co-ed & Single-sex Housing
Forty percent of the undergraduate population are women, who may choose co-ed housing in nine dorms and five independent living groups (one on campus, one in Cambridge, two in Boston and one in Brookline). Women also may choose women-only housing in one large campus dorm, one independent living group in Cambridge, and three sororities in Boston. There are also two non-residential sororities, organized in 1991 and 1995, which do not yet have a house.
Men may choose co-ed housing in the nine dorms and the five independent living groups , or single-sex housing in one area of a campus dorm or in 27 fraternities (five on campus, two in Cambridge, one in Brookline, and 19 in Boston's Back Bay along Beacon Street, Commonwealth Avenue, Bay State Road, Hereford Street, and Newbury Street).
The 36 FSILGs this year have graduate residential advisors, paralleling the graduate resident tutors who live in the undergraduate dorms.
Oversight of FSILGs and Dorms
Oversight of the dormitories and fraternities is provided by the Office of the Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education (ODSUE). With liaison to an assistant dean, the FSILGs are regulated by the Interfraternity Council (IFC), which is composed of the presidents of the FSILGs. The IFC sets the standards for recognition of FSILGs and establishes and enforces the regulations regarding FSILG residential and behavioral standards. It assigns members of another FSILG to monitor the activities of each FSILG, and has a Judicial Council which has investigators check the facts on infractions of rules observed by the monitor or reported by others. The Judicial Council determines the FSILG punishments and fines, which are then reviewed by the Dean's Office.
The Dean's Office may impose sanctions on FSILGs that correspond to, or are in addition to those imposed by the IFC.
Discipline of individual students is handled by the Dean's Office and by its Committee on Discipline. Individual cases are handled confidentially under the guidelines of the Federal law (Buckley amendment).