Student leaders of fraternities and sororities decided on Sept. 19 to stop serving hard-alcohol at off-campus and on-campus parties. The
Interfraternity Council agreed on Sept. 24 to take steps to make fraternity house “risers” safer. These decisions resulted from ongoing communication between the University and the Greek community about student safety.
The hard-liquor ban was implemented by fraternity and sorority presidents working in cooperation with the
Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the Panhellenic Council. The decision to stop serving liquor was made after Dean of Students Susan Lantz approached Greek leaders to express concern about high rates of alcohol-related hospitalizations this semester.
Nineteen students have been transported to the hospital for alcohol-related issues since the beginning of the semester, Lantz said.
Lantz, who is engaged in an ongoing effort to reduce high-risk drinking and the accompanying safety concerns, said that she brought the issue to the attention of the presidents and the councils, but the ban is the direct result of student decision-making.
“This was an incredibly powerful decision,” Lantz said. “I appreciate and support their efforts to make meaningful change on our campus.”
Last weekend, after the ban was enacted, no students, on-campus or off-campus, were hospitalized for alcohol related issues, Lantz said.
In the IFC decision concerning risers at Greek events, the council agreed to consider making changes to risers in on-campus fraternity houses after a student was injured at a party hosted by the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity several weeks ago.
Risers are elevated sections of flooring in fraternity basements that can be used as dancing and staging areas. The injured student used a riser to hang from the sprinkler pipes in the house’s basement. He lost his grip, struck his head on the floor, and needed to be rushed to the hospital, Chief of Public Safety Steve Barilar said.
Neither the IFC nor Public Safety passed any official regulation regarding riser height or safety requirements, Barilar said.
Instead, Public Safety requested that fraternities use common sense and consider student safety, and the IFC agreed.
The decision was a group effort based in communication, not any type of official sanction, Barilar said.
“This is not us bringing the hammer down,” Barilar said. “We spoke to them about a concern and they are going to make changes. We are only concerned about the safety of our students.”