Any discussion of campus strictness at MIT has to include the fact that a freshman died in an alcohol-related incidentmore than 10 years ago. In the wake of this event, the MIT administration has made many changes in policies regarding freshmen, housing, and alcohol. As a result, penalties and punishments for alcohol- and drug-related infractions can be harsh. But the MIT administration generally doesn’t punish individuals; in general, the school will try to punish the living group where the student was drinking or taking the drugs. Punishments can be anything from prohibiting alcohol at the house to losing the actual housing license. Therefore, living groups, especially fraternities, tend to be as careful as possible.
These punishments only apply if you get caught, and most individuals are not. As for parties, campus police are most likely to respond to complaints about noise. (Parties are required to end at 1 a.m. in Cambridge.) The campus police can be strict or not, depending on the living group. If you’re an underage student consuming alcohol, just avoid the CPs, and you’ll be left alone. Definitely be cautious at parties, though, and practice common sense at all times.