Greek Life proposal aims to revamp alcohol policy

The proposal would bar freshmen from living in fraternity houses.
The Sigma Chi Fraternity house sits Thursday night at College Avenue. A work group formed out of the Npower report will be presenting a proposition to Campus Administration to repeal Dry 2000, a law prohibiting alcohol in Greek Life houses.

A proposal to revamp Greek Life's Dry 2000 alcohol policy by barring freshmen from living in fraternity houses will be presented to university administration during winter break, Missouri Students Association President Tim Noce said.

The proposal, drafted by members of an alcohol workgroup formed from the Npower report on Greek Life, will be presented to chapter presidents at the presidents' retreat.

Instituted 10 years ago, the Dry 2000 policy sought to enforce an alcohol-free Greek Life community among chapters in the Interfraternity Council. However, execution and compliance with the policy have since become issues within fraternities, Noce said.

“The current policy has been in place for five to ten years and it’s still not being followed,” Interfraternity Council President Mike Zeiter said. “We need to come up with a policy that actually can be followed, otherwise there’s no point in even having a policy to begin with.”

Concerning enforcement, reports of alcohol policy violations go to the Greek Judicial Board. The board runs under the Office of Student Conduct and makes recommendations as to what disciplinary actions should be taken, Noce said. Previously, the Greek Judicial Board was advised by the Office of Greek Life as opposed to the Office of Student Conduct.

“The Office of Greek Life brought forth charges (for alcohol violations) and advised the judicial board,” Noce said. “This caused a conflict of interests and we are hoping recent changes on the advisement of the judicial board will help the enforcement of the alcohol policy.”

Aside from enforcement, another main issue addressed in the proposal is underaged drinking.

“The majority of students living in the fraternity houses are under 21 years of age,” Noce said. “If a lot more fraternity members were 21 or older, the allowance of alcohol would be more realistic.”

Noce said issues concerning the current policy are in part due to its unrealistic nature.

“Alcohol is a part of college culture,” Noce said. “Everyone knows college students consume alcohol, even the underaged students. And that might sound like crazy talk to some people. However it is an issue and it’s the elephant in the room no one wanted to talk about.”

The proposal will outline ways to curb the problem of under-aged drinking by suggesting freshmen fraternity members live in residence halls their first year as opposed to the fraternity house, Noce said.

“Having freshmen in the fraternities is something that’s unique to our campus,” Zeiter said. “Currently, the freshmen are thrown into the frats and it’s a reality shock. Living in the dorms would not only help them adjust, but they would build a sense of Mizzou pride instead of just frat pride.”

Alcohol-related hazing was discussed as a result of conversations regarding under aged drinking, Noce said.

“I’ve seen hazing happen firsthand and I know forcing members to drink comes into play,” Noce said. “Hazing and younger members are related in some aspect, and it would get better if younger members gained more experience before living in the houses.”

Noce said the adjustments would have no real long-term negative effects on the MU fraternities.

“There’s not a whole lot of downfall other than short-term monetary effects,” Noce said. “Fraternity members try to have a full house for monetary reasons and rely on the freshmen, which could potentially pose a problem.”

Zieter said despite changes that need to be made to the alcohol policy, discussions concerning improvements are a step in the right direction, but that it will be a long process.

“We need to address these issues honestly and keep up a clean image and an honest image,” Noce said. “Everyone has flaws, even the Greeks at Mizzou. The goal right now is honest discussion.”

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