IFC bans hard liquor in fraternity houses

The new rule goes further for Greek safety than consortium proposals, PHA spokeswoman said.

Last June, the Fraternity Alumni Consortium proposed a stringent set of rules for Greek Life, one of which was the restriction of alcohol in fraternity houses to nothing stronger than beer. On Aug. 31, the Interfraternity Council put this rule into effect.

IFC Vice President of Public Relations Parker Briden told The Maneater in June the consortium’s alcohol policy was the only proposed regulation with which the council agreed. Now that the rule is official, the council has a zero tolerance policy for hard liquor in fraternity houses.

“Our audit system will continue in the same way it did before (the policy changed), but with an increased lookout for hard alcohol,” Briden said on Sept. 1.

IFC audits are conducted by a third party, usually a security guard, who inspects the fraternity houses in search of evidence of alcohol consumption. If the auditor finds evidence of an alcohol policy breach or any other unsafe situation, the Office of Student Conduct is notified and determines how the fraternity will be punished.

In the past, the auditors have used more discretion regarding less serious offenses.

“We just tried to eliminate the worst offenders,” Briden said. “Now, we have zero tolerance for any hard alcohol.”

The council’s previous alcohol regulations were complicated and unclear, Briden said. Each chapter house had to meet a list of qualifications in order to serve alcohol. Once those were met, only a certain amount of liquor was allowed for each 21-year-old member, and there was no restriction on the type.

“People saw the last policy as something to get around, not something to adopt and live by,” Briden said. “It’s a lot easier to cooperate with this new policy. The chapter leaders had a hand in helping us form it.”

MU student Stephen Ruiz said the fraternities had been anticipating the new rule.

“When I was rushing last summer, it was the talk of every house that I rushed,” Ruiz said. “They were supporting it because it would make audits a lot easier to pass.”

Briden also said IFC is now able to quickly recognize whether its rules are effective, and if the rules are ineffective, they can be modified accordingly.

“We hope this will begin a trend of examining policies more often to create the best one,” Briden said.

The new rule also seeks to end sexual violence, which intoxication plays a major role in, Briden said.

The Panhellenic Association supports IFC’s decision, said Carolyn Welter, vice president of public relations for PHA.

“Obviously they know what’s best for their fraternities,” Welter said. “They’ve put a lot of thought into it.”

The consortium’s proposals were meant to make Greek Life safer for women, but Welter said the new rule goes further than that.

“I think it will be safer for anyone in a frat house regardless of gender,” she said. “It’s harder to have unsafe drinking habits with beer than with hard liquor.”

Ruiz said he thinks the regulation will be good for the fraternity houses. However, not all participants in Greek Life shared his point of view.

“I don’t really understand why it matters,” Phi Mu sorority member Jennifer Butler said. “To college kids, alcohol is alcohol.”

The efficiency of the rule remains to be seen, but for now, the leaders of Greek Life believe a valuable decision has been made.

“We’re really confident that this will be a step in the right direction toward creating more safety in the Greek community,” Briden said.

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