Despite national fraternity attempts to decrease their chapters' insurance risks, the new "bring your own booze" party policy is a step further than most other schools' fraternity systems are willing to go. Fraternity chapters across the nation face the same risks in buying and serving alcohol at parties, since they all hold the same insurance policies, and the BYOB policy is a standard regulation by national organizations. But the University's Interfraternity Council is the first at a Northeastern school, and only the seventh in the country, to adopt the BYOB policy for its members. But Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Assistant Director Eric Newman said he expects fraternity systems at many schools to implement BYOB policies shortly. "It's a domino effect," Newman said. Newman said the IFC implemented the regulations before other schools because of cooperation between OFSA, national officials and campus fraternity leaders. According to Newman, the University administration's involvement in getting the BYOB guidelines passed is nearly unprecedented. Concerned that over half of University fraternities were at great liability risk when they purchased alcohol with chapter funds -- which is prohibited in their insurance policies -- OFSA held a conference with the fraternity presidents last spring about the problem. Afterwards, OFSA wrote letters to all 26 IFC fraternities' national headquarters, asking risk-management consultants to come to the University for a retreat with chapter presidents and OFSA. Newman said the BYOB policy helps fraternities because it reduces their liabilities. He credited the policy to a proactive response from his office. "A lot of people didn't think nationals would get involved," Newman said. "They underestimated our ability to bring in nationals." But OFSA's organization of the meeting has drawn mixed responses. After the retreat, some current fraternity presidents said they felt they were scared into implementing the BYOB policy. But current IFC President Bret Kinsella said last week that he welcomed such retreats for their educational opportunities as long as they do not infringe on any chapter's autonomy. The Fraternity Insurance Purchasing Group, which insures 16 of 26 IFC fraternities, mandates that chapters cannot buy alcohol using chapter funds. Another six fraternities carry similar policies. Some of the policies disallow group sources of alcohol, such as beer balls and kegs, and require professional doormen to prevent underage drinking. The policies will not cover any accident that occurs at a party where alcohol was purchased by the chapter -- regardless of whether the person is of legal drinking age or has even consumed alcohol at the party. Also, the FIPG reserves power to enforce the policy itself or through the national organization. These insurance policies have been requirements for parties since the fall of 1988. But according to former IFC President Garrett Reisman, these policies were not usually enforced, either by the national fraternity or by the insurance company. "It used to be that nationals were just winking at us," said Reisman, a fifth-year Engineering and Wharton senior. "Certain houses were feeling the heat [about following national alcohol policies]. Most weren't. Enforcement was lax." But OFSA and national officials said that nationals had tried to ensure that the BYOB policy was being upheld. And when the officials asked OFSA about violations, OFSA told them their suspicions and began planning the retreat.Comments powered by Disqus
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