Daily Cup of Wellness

Following a rash of alcohol related deaths in fraternities, the North American Interfraternity Conference passed a ruling stating that hard alcohol would no longer be allowed in fraternities unless it was served by a licensed, third party vendor. This means that any fraternity party would need to have an official, licensed bartender rather than a bowl full of jungle juice sitting on a table in the corner.

The new rule passed the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), the national umbrella organization for most fraternities, in a “near unanimous vote.” Over 6,100 fraternity chapters across 800 campuses will be affected by the new rule when it goes into effect in September 2019. Although the change will surprise some, the writing has been on the wall for the better part of three years. As alcohol related deaths increased in fraternities, many Greek organizations began having self-imposed bans or reforms. In 2015, Purdue University banned hard liquor from fraternities on campus, and the University of Kansas, Indiana University and the University of Missouri all followed suit. According to the NIC, “nearly all hazing and over-consumption deaths in the past two years have involved students consuming high-percentage alcohol beverages.” That is an especially sad statistic when almost 90% of fraternity house residents are under the legal drinking age of 21.

The official ruling reads that no alcohol “above 15% ABV,” or alcohol by volume, can be present within a fraternity. The only exception is when the liquor is served by a licensed and insured third-party vendor at a registered social event. The ban is likely to be unpopular with college students, at least at first, but Purdue’s Interfraternity Council president, Seth Gutwein, said that removing hard liquor from fraternities has created “a positive shift in our culture when it comes to the health and safety of our members and guests.”

Judson Horras, CEO and president of the NIC, echoed Gutwein. “At their core, fraternities are about brotherhood, personal development and providing a community of support. Alcohol abuse and its serious consequences endanger this very purpose.”

How the ban will be enforced given that college students are famous for smuggling booze into their rooms is unclear, but hopefully it will be a step in the right direction when it comes to responsible drinking on college campuses.

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