Bad news for frat stars and groupies everywhere. The college legends (or horror stories) of cheap vodka shots and vats of jungle juice are over. In August 2018, the North American Interfraternity Conference adopted a new resolution banning the presence of alcohol with an ABV above 15% at any chapter event.
The North American Interfraternity Conference requires all its chapters to adopt this policy by September 1, 2019. As frat boys across the country scramble to find a way around this obstacle, others start to wonder: What does this mean for everyone else?
What is the resolution?
While it might seem self-explanatory, there are many moving parts and rules that make up the resolution.
This new policy applies to any and all chapter events. This includes, but is not limited to meetings, brotherhood, recruitment and new member events, exchanges, house parties, date parties and formals. Essentially, if it’s planned and/or attended by the chapter, the presence of hard alcohol is a big no-no.
Of course, federal laws still apply when it comes to alcohol consumption. No matter the ABV percentage, partygoers under 21 are prohibited from consuming alcohol, and alcohol may not be purchased with funds collected or provided by the fraternity.
In order to ensure that the resolution is properly enforced and all partygoers are in a safe environment, there are a few new policies put in place by all the North American Interfraternity Conference’s chapters.
It is now required that at least one member from each chapter or a third-party hire is stationed at every entrance of an event, including informal occasions like house parties and meetings. Their job is to monitor partygoers and chapter members to make sure they don’t bring in prohibited beverages.
If a patron attempts to bring in a drink with an ABV percentage above 15%, it’s the designated member’s responsibility to make sure the drink is completely disposed of before the guest enters the event. This rule applies to any container that has the capacity to contain a prohibited beverage.
Another new policy enforced by the Interfraternity Conference requires chapters to provide sealed water bottles at all events where alcohol is present. Staying hydrated is key in ensuring your safety when it comes to alcohol consumption. Chapter members and partygoers will always have uncontaminated water available if their night takes a turn for the worse.
Unfortunately, members of the Panhellenic community are not immune to the effects of the resolution. Campuses that endorse Greek life require that the members of sororities or women’s fraternities do their best to make enforcing these new policies easier. Most even ask that sorority members sign an agreement to comply by these policies.
Like most rules, there are a couple ways around the resolution. If your beverage happens to have an ABV percentage at or below 15%, it can legally be brought to events. Partygoers will just have to trade shots for beer, wine and alternative drinks. You can find a comprehensive list of drinks that are below a 15% ABV here.
You will notice that there is a note regarding Four Loco at the bottom of the page. While the drink’s alcohol content is less than 15%, the added caffeine can amplify the drink’s affects. Don’t fret: It is at the chapter and/or the university’s discretion to decide if Four Loco is allowed. Consult with your chapter or university to find out if this drink is permitted at chapter events.
While each chapter is prohibited from serving alcohol themselves, hard alcohol can be served by a third-party vendor, such as a barkeep provided by a venue, a restaurant or an independent hired bartender. Allowing third-party vendors of hard alcohol makes things a little easier for big events like date parties and formals, where a third-party vendor is usually present anyway.
Why was the resolution passed?
The goal of the resolution is to limit the number of alcohol-related deaths in the Greek community across the nation. The North American Interfraternity Conference made this change in hopes of making Greek life events safer for its patrons and its members.
There are an estimated 88,000 alcohol-related deaths a year according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The majority of deaths associated with Greek life and hazing are alcohol-related, making up a considerable percentage of this shocking statistic. The North American Interfraternity Conference hopes that by prohibiting hard alcohol at chapter events, the number of collegiate, alcohol-related deaths will fall dramatically.
The new policy was put in place to also decrease the number of sexual assaults that occur at Greek events. Many academic journals describe events thrown by fraternities as “dangerous places for women.” To even be a member of a sorority can be considered a risk factor for sexual assault. The North American Interfraternity Conference hopes that these new policies will significantly reduce the risk for sexual assault at colleges.
The Interfraternity Conference also aims to limit the liability associated with being a member of a fraternity. Currently, it is most common for the president of any given chapter to be liable for its members and its patrons. If anything was to happen, the president of the fraternity would have to answer for it. The responsibility for the safety of others can be a lot of pressure for 18 and 20-year-olds, and something that has the potential to affect them for years to come.
What does the resolution mean for you?
Party culture will definitely be changing in the upcoming years. While these new rules and policies are geared toward increasing the safety of college students, it might also cause their tactics to drink under the radar to evolve.
It is important to be aware of the risks that might be amplified by these restrictions. Students might compensate for the lack of alcohol at events by “pre-gaming,” or binge drinking before attending. Pre-gaming can lead to an elevated number of alcohol poisoning cases as students consume an unknown amount of alcohol.
For others, hard drugs might be a lot easier to conceal than alcohol. Watch out for those who will trade in shots for something much harder — and much more dangerous. These drugs pose a huge risk to fraternity members and partygoers alike and is absolutely the opposite of what the North American Interfraternity Conference is hoping for when it comes to regulating safety.
The most important thing to remember as a college student is to not only to stay safe but to stay smart. Watch out for your friends and yourself by knowing the rules and knowing the risks. Who knows? In the long run, being aware can guarantee your safety more than any rule or policy can.