MIT agrees to pay $4.75 million to student's parents

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has agreed to pay $4.75 million and endow a scholarship in a settlement with the family of a freshman who drank himself to death at a 1997 fraternity initiation.

Scott Krueger's parents, Bob and Darlene Krueger, said they reached the agreement, announced Wednesday, after two days of meetings with MIT President Charles A. Vest.

MIT also said it would continue to make sweeping policy changes already under way to crack down on underage drinking and supervise students more closely.

''The most important thing to us is that the settlement allows all parties to move forward with their goals of better education on alcohol and a constant attention to curb alcohol abuse,'' university spokesman Ken Campbell said.

In a letter sent to the Kruegers earlier this month, Vest apologized for the 18-year-old student's death.

''The death of Scott as a freshman living in an MIT fraternity shows that our approach to alcohol education and policy, and our freshman housing options, were inadequate,'' Vest said.

MIT will pay $4.75 million to the family and establish a $1.25 million scholarship fund in the student's memory.

MIT also said it would require all MIT freshmen to live in university-owned, -operated and -supervised housing as of August 2002. Also, no fraternity and sorority recruiting events will be held during freshman orientation, and freshmen will not be allowed to live in fraternities and sororities.

In addition, fraternities and sororities are required to have resident advisers.

The university said it is also more strictly enforcing rules against underage drinking. The drinking age in Massachusetts is 21.

If Vest ''follows through with all of his promises, we feel that MIT will be a better place. And we hope other colleges will follow suit,'' Darlene Krueger said.

Krueger decided to join Phi Gamma Delta to obtain housing, his parents said. After a hazing during which he drank large amounts of alcohol, he slipped into a coma and died three days later.

Prosecutors charged the fraternity as an organization with manslaughter but were not able to bring it to court. MIT later banished the fraternity.

The family never sued MIT but would have if the university hadn't agreed to the settlement, according to the Kruegers' attorney, Leo V. Boyle.

The Kruegers said they refused any confidential settlement offers.

''We were looking to make people aware of what goes on in the college and to keep it from happening to someone else,'' Bob Krueger said. ''We can only try and bring some good out of our son's death.''

After the student's death, two dozen Boston-area colleges and universities - including MIT - pledged in 1998 to control underage campus drinking.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment