Greek alcohol policy weighed

By Matt Gilbert

The university is forming a task force to review alcohol policies as they pertain to fraternities and sororities.

The purpose of the task force, as stated by Activities for Greek Affairs Adviser Dawn Sturma, is to study the current situation and make recommendations concerning the university’s alcohol policy as it applies to fraternities. It also will examine the effectiveness of NIU’s system of enforcement of the alcohol policy.

The task force has been spurred by Student Affairs Vice President Barbara Henley, who is chairing the committee. Henley, however, was unavailable for comment.

Sturma said the task force will be looking at “what the fraternities are doing now, what their policies say right now,” as well as the “education the fraternities and their members are getting regarding alcohol.”

Student Association President Abe Andrzejewski, a member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, said he intends to cooperate with the task force, “although I think (Henley’s) efforts are a little misguided and narrow in focus.”

Andrzejewski questioned why only greek organizations were being targeted and wondered “what the proper role of a university is in regulating off-campus organizations and off-campus citizens who just happen to be attending school here.”

At Henley’s request, Andrzejewski promised to aid in the task force by appointing representatives from the following organizations: the National PanHellenic Council, which consists of African-American and Latino greek organizations; the Student Association; the Interfraternity Council (IFC); Panhel, which consists of sororities; and Greeks Advocating the Mature Management of Alcohol (GAMMA).

Andrzejewski added, “I guess I wish (Henley) the best of luck in her capacity as chair of that task force.”

Sturma said student fees go to pay for about $3,000 of IFC PanHellenic Council’s activities. Since the fraternities are recognized student organizations the university has the right to have a say in their policies, she said.

The task force came about as a result of a vote by the IFC not to incorporate the Fraternity Insurance Purchasing Group (FIPG) risk management policies into its internal policies.

A report by Henley states, “FIGP policies go beyond IFC policy. They require that kegs and other bulk alcoholic beverage containers be prohibited, as well as the purchase of alcohol through chapter funds or coordinated on behalf of the chapter.”

FIPG prohibits alcohol at pledge activities, open parties, and “drinking games.”

The report states IFC alcohol policy is not as extensive as FIPG and does not prohibit things like kegs or drinking games.

Sturma said the issue of hazing might also be addressed by the task force.

The definition of “hazing” as it’s stated in the Student Judicial Code in part reads “any act or activity by an organization or group or by a member of that organization or group in which a member(s) or prospective member(s) may be subjected to an activity which may cause or create a risk to one’s physical and mental health.”

FIPG is more specific. It forbids forced use of alcohol, treasure or scavenger hunts, road trips, public apparel not normally in good taste, public stunts and buffoonery, humiliating games and “any other activity not consistent with fraternal law, ritual, or policy or the regulations and policies of the educational institution.”