New policy sets rules on alcohol

By Tammy Sholer

Five fraternities on campus will be liable for parties serving alcohol since their respective national chapters implemented a risk management policy this summer.

NIU fraternities that must follow the new policy are Sigma Phi Epsilon, Sigma Pi, Sigma Nu, Delta Sigma Pi and Delta Chi.

Michelle Emmett, NIU University Programming and Activities director, said the objective of the new policy is to reduce the amount of liability for a national chapter.

Sig Ep President Steve Coloia said if the fraternity has a party or buys alcohol, the house is not covered by the national chapter.

He said, “Insurance companies do not want to cover fraternities anymore.”

Sig Ep’s national chapter does not want the fraternity to use chapter funds and does not want individual members to pool their money to purchase alcohol, he said.

“It (the policy) makes things difficult,” Coloia said.

Charles White, executive director for the Sig Ep fraternity, said, “(The policy) started this academic year. It (the policy) is a requirement to be a member of the Fraternity Insurance Purchasing Group, (Inc.)”

“They (national chapters) don’t want to lose all assets in a law suit,” Emmett said. The policy is a way for the national chapters to insure themselves.

UP&A Activities Advisor Jeff Cufaude said the national chapters meet every two years so that they can implement new laws. He said the national chapters met this summer and adopted the policy.

Each fraternity has different stipulations implemented by their national chapter, Cufaude said. White did not comment on what the stipulations of his chapter entail.

A number of stipulations concerning alcohol and drug use are stated in the policy. The possession and use of alcohol associated with the fraternity must be in compliance with state, province, county, city and university laws, the policy stated.

Alcohol cannot be purchased through a fraternity treasury and cannot be sold to minors, and rushes associated with a chapter must be “dry,” the policy stated.

“Open parties, meaning those with unrestricted access by non-members of the fraternity, without specific invitation, shall be prohibited.

“No member shall permit, tolerate, encourage or participate in ‘drinking games,'” the policy reported.

Sexual abuse—actions that are demeaning to women physically, mentally or emotionally—will not be tolerated, the policy also stated.

Hazing is not allowed in the policy, but hazing was never allowed, Emmett said. The policy states hazing to be “any action taken or situation created, intentionally, whether on or off fraternity premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment or ridicule… “

A house must meet local fire, health and safety codes and standards such as posting emergency telephone numbers near common phones, the policy stated.

White said the consequences for deviating from the policy depend on the situation.

Emmett said, “Personally, give it (the policy) a year and have the national chapter evaluate it to see if the new policy is working. Is it really reducing risk? Are the fraternities complying?”

The Interfraternity Council has strict alcohol guidelines for the fraternities to follow, Cufaude said. IFC has a risk- reduction committee, which might make a recommendation to adopt a risk management policy as well, he said.

The committee met for the first time last week so any action on implementing this second policy has not been taken, Cufaude said. It takes about a month to make a policy change.

He said each house will see the proposal and give its input. The policy then returns to the committee for a final review and possible adoption, Cufaude said.

Jeff Parker, head of the committee, could not be reached for comment Friday.