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Susan E. Wagner High School '96 Staten Island, N.Y. The InterFraternity Council, which governs the campus' Greek fraternities, has taken several steps over the past year to improve its enforcement of a law that prevents charging door fees at house parties. But a number of incidents in which students said houses charged them to enter parties have made it clear that not all fraternities comply with the law, which requires establishments -- including fraternities -- to obtain a liquor license before charging fees at an event when alcohol is being served. Earlier this spring, IFC officials said charging was no longer as big of an issue as it was when the University first began enforcing the law in 1996. At the time, a majority of fraternities charged door fees. And indeed, over the past two years, many of the IFC's 27 fraternities have consistently complied with the law, often funding events with their own money. But in March, St. Anthony's, or Delta Psi, was investigated and later sanctioned by the IFC's Judicial Inquiry Board for charging door fees at their Mardi Gras party. Students who attended other parties that month hosted by Delta Kappa Epsilon and St. Elmo's, or Delta Phi, said that those fraternities also charged a fee to enter. Zeta Beta Tau President David Greenspan explained that whether or not a fraternity decides to violate the law and charge money may depend largely on its size and frequency of events. "We have 90 brothers, so for us [to pay] a $900 penalty would be pretty stiff," said Greenspan, then a College senior. "For other houses with 40 or 50 brothers, it's almost worth it to suck up the fines." The allegations prompted the IFC to revise its enforcement mechanisms. On March 29, the body officially increased the charging penalties to $30 per brother and an automatic 10-week social probation. The board also eliminated a distinction giving first-time offenders less social probation than second-time offenders. While IFC President Josh Belinfante, a then-College junior, said he was confident the new penalties would finally create a level playing field and prevent further violations of the law, the issue resurfaced even after the penalties were increased. During April's Spring Fling weekend, students again alleged that DEKE brothers charged them to enter a house party. Others said that Tau Epsilon Phi brothers charged them to enter an off-campus party. But while inconsistent compliance remains a problem, other Greeks questioned the University's enforcement of the law. The state regulations are rooted in a Prohibition-era law which effectively defines any establishment charging fees at a party as an illegal speakeasy. But several students said they are skeptical as to whether the law applies to private parties. Mike Steib, a then-College senior and former IFC judicial manager, said the charging regulations, "which are enforced at very few other schools" are being enforced by the University to crack down on fraternities and drinking, not simply to prevent charging. Others agreed that there are less open parties on campus now that fraternities are unable to recover the costs of the events through door fees. Steib explained that the officials who drafted the laws surely did not do so with the intent of preventing hosts of parties from recovering incurred costs, but rather to diminish the prevalence of unlicensed bars. Still, University officials say enforcement of the regulations is necessary because of liability risks to both the fraternities and the University in the event someone were injured and sued the University. OFSA Assistant Director Tom Carroll explained that in a 1992 incident at Phi Kappa Psi, brothers were arrested after Liquor Control Enforcement agents found out they were charging money. Since the University insists it cannot legally cease to enforce the law, the IFC has sought alternate means of funding social events. For the second year in a row, the board asked the Undergraduate Assembly, Penn's student government body, to allocate money for IFC events. After rejecting that proposal last year, the UA passed a motion this year to allocate $30,000 of their 1998-99 budget to a discretionary fund to be used for non-alcoholic, campus-wide events. Greek officials pointed out that the money can help compensate for the decreased number of fraternity parties. "We're trying to make up for the lack of social programs we see on campus," Belinfante said.

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