Fraternities Enforce Stricter Alcohol Policy
By: Natalie DeCesare
This year, a stricter alcohol policy has resulted in reinforcing accountability and questioning organizational autonomy regarding fraternity parties. Differing from the last year’s alcohol policy, the new policy enforced by Student Activities requires certified servers staffing the bar at all times.
Senior Tommy Frashier, Intrafraternity Council (IFC) president, Kappa Sigma (Sig) vice president, and a Risk Committee chair applauds the additional alcohol training but worries it overlooks smaller fraternities.
“The alcohol form only allows four certified servers, which is unfortunate when we don’t have enough members to rotate servers,” Frashier said.
All organizations wanting to serve alcohol at an event must seek approval by Student Activities via an alcohol form. This form requires a pre-determined guest list, names of party monitors and certified servers, and the venue capacity. The newly enforced occupancy levels established by fire codes diminish the practice of “shopping” (coming and going to events with alcohol) and limiting events to guest lists.
“Instead of disregarding the flow of party guests, the policy should allow us to keep track of those who enter and leave,” Frashier said.
A possible financial limitation of the new policy requires organizations to hire security for events over 100 people. However, with security costing about $150 per night, the party scene may become too expensive for many fraternities and encourage off-campus alcohol consumption.
“The houses were generally safe places to drink alcohol, but now people are being pushed off campus and prone to danger. The policy is giving people a reason to drive drunk,” Frashier said.
With the above concern in mind, the IFC sponsored an amendment to change the alcohol policy’s large event number to 150 people, which would almost allow each fraternity member to bring one guest to a party. However, IFC’s concern remains the threatening atmosphere they believe the new policy creates by leaving drinkers to find alternative environments to consume alcohol.
“People are going to find other ways of drinking, whether pre-gaming in their rooms or going off campus, neither which are as safe as a planned alcohol event,” Frashier said.
The alcohol policy also serves as a guideline for determining the responsible party when drinking occurs. If an organization is not officially serving alcohol, then it is not responsible for those who bring alcohol. Only when an organization is serving will SUPD enforce an organization’s responsibility for its drinking guests. This applies to Wednesday “study breaks.”
“Fraternities are not allowed to be serving at Wednesday study breaks without prior approval,” Frashier said. “However, Sig still has Risk Managers on Wednesdays just to be safe.”
A safe party for fraternities consists of locking down the house, providing one entrance but multiple exists in case of an emergency; party monitors who make sure outside containers are not brought in and intoxicated guests are not allowed in; water stations and other non-alcoholic beverages available; and sending an intoxicated person home with two brothers if not the friends that person came with to ensure the protection of all parties.
Despite these safety precautions, Frashier finds the limiting factors of guest lists and occupancy levels severely harming greek life and first-years who now have to “earn an invitation” to be invited to once open events.
“The policy is going to inevitably lead to the exclusion of freshmen,” Frashier said. “The rule will lead to a toxic environment resulting in more social pressure and institutional power put on the youngest members.”
While the new alcohol policy provides an avenue for approving responsible serving at events, fraternities may struggle to maintain membership and provide a safe drinking environment.