National representatives from all 26 Interfraternity Council fraternities came to the University Saturday for a day-long powwow with the chapters' presidents to discuss widespread violations of the national groups' alcohol policies. The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs invited the representatives to discuss insurance problems caused by discrepancies between 20 fraternities' national alcohol policies and IFC rules, according to OFSA and national officials. IFC policy currently places no restrictions on chapters' alcohol purchase except to forbid grain alcohol. But 20 IFC national fraternities prohibit chapters from buying alcohol with house funds. Some national groups also prevent the presence of kegs and other "excess amounts" of alcohol at parties. These national restrictions comply with the fraternities' liability insurance requirements. The Fraternity Insurance Purchasing Group insures 16 of the 20 fraternities involved. OFSA Assistant Director Eric Newman said last night that the national representatives were invited to last weekend's retreat because of concern over alcohol use at fraternity parties. He said Saturday's meeting was aimed to help the fraternities reduce their liability for alcohol policy violations. "Right now, or previously, the undergraduates were assuming a lot of liability," Newman said. "We were being proactive about something that could hurt their futures." But several fraternity members said yesterday that the national and OFSA officials attempted to scare them into implementing a "bring your own beer" policy for the entire IFC. At an IFC meeting tonight, members will address changes to the group's alcohol policy and the possibility of a BYOB policy, several executive board members said. The IFC, and not University administrators, is responsible for redrafting the policy to meet the nationals' guidelines. Although some house presidents said they advocate a BYOB policy to dodge insurance risks, others said the policy would be too restrictive and would be unfair to the fraternities whose nationals allow chapters to buy alcohol. Another president said he thought the policy, if passed, would not be enforced. According to Beta Theta Pi national Chapter Management Consultant Jeff Partridge, the insurer, FIPG, reserves the right to conduct their own searches of fraternity parties without the national organization's knowledge. If there is alcohol at a party paid for by the chapter's treasury, the FIPG automatically refuses to cover any damages incurred at the party and can suspend the chapter's policy. The 16 national fraternities also patrol the houses. Another four fraternities, while insured by another carrier or by their own program, hold similar policies. These policies are enforced by the national headquarters. The restrictions prohibiting alcohol purchase with chapter funds were written into most fraternity chapter insurance policies in 1988. Most chapter presidents said they knew of the nationals' alcohol regulations before the Saturday retreat, but added that they did not understand their liability implications. "We came out of the meeting convinced that BYOB was the only alternative," Delta Upsilon fraternity President Brian Riley said yesterday. Riley, a College senior, added that OFSA officials said during the session that they wanted presidents to believe that a BYOB policy was the only option. National chapter representatives said their alcohol policies must be enforced and that it will not ignore violations. They said fraternities must conform with the regulations immediately or risk "very serious" punishment. They said, however, that they think fraternity members are willing to work with the national chapters and with the University administration. Beta Management Consultant Partridge said Beta's national organization knows the University chapter's parties violate chapter alcohol policy. "We are asking them [members of the chapter] to take some drastic steps," Partridge said. "They can no longer pool [chapter] funds. Our goal is for them to be in adherence with all state and local laws." IFC Vice President David Hecht said yesterday that the IFC would examine BYOB policies at tonight's meeting. But Hecht stressed that BYOB would not necessarily be the IFC's solution to the liability problem. "Certain frats on this campus have different insurance policies," the Wharton senior said. "A BYOB would prohibit certain fraternities from doing what they are allowed to do." Several fraternity members have said the IFC will also consider other changes in party policies at tonight's meeting, such as not charging for admission to parties and requiring professional bouncers to monitor the door. They said these would be considered in tandem with the BYOB policy. According to the Cornell Daily Sun, the Cornell IFC, faced with the same insurance clauses, is considering hiring caterers for their parties. The chapter would charge an entrance fee and the caterer would assume all liability. But IFC officials and house officials and members said they have found no alternatives to the BYOB option. "We don't know what our alternatives are," Hecht said. "The meeting tomorrow night might generate alternatives to BYOB, which would be okay as long as we meet insurance requirements." DU President Riley said that his chapter did not support BYOB because of fears that BYOB would not be enforced, despite the fact his chapter is prohibited from buying alcohol. But Sigma Alpha Epsilon President Mike Feinberg said he expects whatever IFC measure passed to be enforced because he feels that the University will judge the Greek Peer Judicial Board's effectiveness by how well the policy is enforced. "If the Greek Peer Judicial Board wants to survive, they'd better enforce it," the College senior said. "If they don't enforce this, it won't exist."Comments powered by Disqus
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