Fraternities, Sans Hard Alcohol
by Geneve Lau
photography courtesy of Carina Lee
In a recent article from the Chicago Tribune last week, a “near-unanimous vote” made on August 27 to ban the serving of hard liquor was brought to light.
After several deaths of fraternity pledges that involved alcohol abuse, all member fraternities, international and national, of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) have until September of 2019 to ban drinks with an alcohol content higher than 15% from events, unless served by licensed personnel. This group has over 6,000 fraternity chapters across the world.
A few years ago, in 2015, the Interfraternity Council at Purdue University, voted to ban hard liquor at all fraternity related events. These actions are increasingly sweeping across the nation.
Andrew Dudley (COM ’20), is a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity at Boston University. Although his fraternity is not a part of the NIC, he mentioned that there is already a hard alcohol ban at all chapter houses for his fraternity, so nothing much will change. From a personal standpoint, he noted, “I believe that the risk of hard alcohol being served at fraternities far outweighs the positives. It is impossible to track people’s alcohol intake,” referencing the effects of pre-gaming in college, and how partygoers may show up at different levels of intoxication.
Currently, four of the six officially recognized fraternities by the Interfraternity Council at BU are a part of the NIC. This is not including numerous unrecognized fraternities that also have houses close to campus.
Without a doubt, the effects of this hard alcohol ban will be felt throughout the year as students attend Greek Life events.
Chloe Qin (CAS ’21) said she doesn’t believe that the ban will change anything for the scene of partygoers.
“There’s not going to be people there at every party, double checking that hard alcohol isn’t being served. It just isn’t feasible,” she stated. “There are so many college students that drink before they go out to parties. So, regardless of whether they ban them at the [fraternity] house, college students are still having hard alcohol from other places.”
Layth Hert (CAS ’20), a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity at Boston University, expressed familiarity with the NIC but not really about its involvement with his group.
“I know we’re a part of [the NIC], but I don’t know any specific details,” he said. “I’ve heard about the ban and all, but again, no details.”
Vera Butyrskaya (CAS ’21), thinks that there will be a difference in the Greek Life experience, especially for those who aren’t in the social circle.
“I think [the fraternities] just going to hide all of [the alcohol],” she stated. “There’s already a lot of hiding and sneaking around, but I feel like it’ll just become more exclusive and the party scene won’t be as fun.”
The NIC believes this action aligns with the adoption of “good-Samaritan medical policies” and the advocacy for “stronger anti-hazing laws,” which were implemented earlier this year, according to the Chicago Tribune article.
BU itself is also spreading the message for anti-hazing. All student groups on campus are required to go through a hazing prevention training through the Student Activities Office.
It will take the unfolding of the year to see the effects of this nation-wide ban, and its effects on the Greek Life population and participants on BU campus.