February 8, 2007
policy being rewritten
Changes to the current alcohol policy, created five years ago, are currently being made by the office of Greek Life and Student Government.
Director of Greek life Steve Hirst and coordinator of Greek life Alexis Iffert will write the new policy, but nothing can be passed without student approval. “They’re not going to get anything through in a new alcohol policy without us ripping it apart and proposing new changes,” said junior Joe Welker, SG Speaker of the House and chair of the Social Life Executive Advisory Committee.
The current alcohol policy was created after one night where there were a lot of alcohol related arrests on campus. Chief of Police Regina Lawson said, “We’re no different than any other campus. The problem is excessive drinking and that’s what causes us the most concern: students who drink to the point where they’re unable to care for themselves.”
The majority of fraternities and sororities have moved their parties off-campus because the current alcohol policy is “reactionary and restrictive; it kind of pushes people off,” Welker said. The new policy is trying to combat this problem and bring parties back on campus. Welker is also working very closely with another member of SG to bring Pledge Night back to campus.
Another reason many parties are held off-campus is that only beer is allowed in fraternity lounges, not liquor. “If you’re age 21, alcohol is alcohol, beer, wine or liquor,” Lawson. said “I don’t think that’s going to significantly change the social environment, but that’s my personal opinion.”
Some of the changes that have been suggested to include in the policy are that all party monitors will have to wear yellow polo shirts to identify themselves. Also, fraternities will have to pay $35 to register parties on campus, but if they have good party compliance and no trouble during the party, that fee will be waived.
One of the major changes that SG is trying to push for will affect control and rights of fraternities in their lounges. Currently, lounges are rented to fraternities and so the university has control over them.
Therefore, University Police can enter the lounges without warrants and fraternities have to clean up immediately after a party. In contrast, Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity owns their house off of campus so if there is a complaint, police need a warrant to enter the building, and there are no rules restricting clean up and other issues.
The goal of the proposed change would be to allow fraternities to “own” their lounges like DKEs owns their house. Welker said, “They like the idea of taking ownership over their own area and they thought that would be a great incentive for bringing parties back on campus, but we don’t know how feasible that will be.”
Welker said he is, “Happy with the proposed actions so far, but on behalf of the students our call is going to be, ‘yeah this stuff is great but it’s only the first step.’”
“If students do choose to consume alcohol, moderation is the key because there are so many safety issues,” said Chief Lawson. However, please be aware of new and evolving technology that not only the University police, but all law enforcement is using to catch underage drinking and drunk driving. This includes “alco-sensors” which you can blow directly into and the “intoxilizer” which is used for arrest under DWI.
Newer models of the “alco-sensors” can collect air samples and can determine if you are drunk without your knowledge. “Those devices are accurate and readings are fairly consistent,” said Chief Lawson.
“ALE are using them and they said they’re going to use them on students…I don’t know if that’s a scare tactic or what, but that’s not going to make students happy,” said Welker.
With the help of SG and the advisory council, which Welker said is “pretty much the student voice” we can look for a formal statement from Steve Hirst and the Office of Greek Life about the new alcohol policy that both students and faculty will find acceptable.