Fraternities at Penn and across the country will not be permitted to serve hard liquor in their houses or at any event by September 2019.
In light of the alcohol-related and hazing-related student deaths that have transpired across the nation, the North-American Interfraternity Conference has moved to adopt a new policy that would have far-reaching effects. The NIC oversees 66 fraternities with chapters on more than 800 campuses, all of which will need to conform to this policy — including the majority of fraternities at Penn.
Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life Director Jazmyn Pulley did not comment on what specific steps the department will take to enforce this new standard, but she confirmed that the school will be affected by this new policy.
"The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life has learned of the NIC’s resolution to prohibit hard alcohol from all chapter facilities and events by September 2019," Pulley wrote in an email statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian. "We look forward to talking with the NIC, Penn’s Interfraternity Council (IFC) chapters, and Greek alumni about the impact and implementation of this new national expectation."
Of the 27 fraternities under Penn's Interfraternity Council, only three chapters are not included in the NIC and therefore will not be affected by the ban. Those three include Kappa Sigma, Lambda Chi Alpha, and Phi Delta Theta. Three multicultural fraternities in which Penn students participate — Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, and Phi Beta Sigma — also fall under the NIC's umbrella.
The policy prohibits alcohol products exceeding 15 percent alcohol by volume at any chapter event or chapter facility, unless the liquor is served by a licensed third-party vendor.
This September, the NIC implemented a Medical Good Samaritan Policy to encourage members to call emergency medical services anytime another person is in need of medical attention.
“At their core, fraternities are about brotherhood, personal development and providing a community of support. Alcohol abuse and its serious consequences endanger this very purpose,” NIC President and CEO Judson Horras said in a press release. “This action shows fraternities’ clear commitment and leadership to further their focus on the safety of members and all in our communities.”
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The NIC's decision comes amid rising national attention for alcohol-related deaths at fraternities.
In February 2017, Penn State University student Timothy Piazza, who was 19 years old, died in a Beta Theta Pi chapter house after becoming intoxicated in a hazing ritual and falling down a stairwell. He was left on a couch for 12 hours before anyone called 911. After the death, Penn State banned alcohol at fraternity parties and considered banning Greek life. This week, Piazza's parents reached a settlement with Beta Theta Pi's national organization, reported ABC News.
While chapters have the independence to set their own rules, the NIC "has oversight over some broader policies" including alcohol rules at parties, reported USA Today.
Penn's Interfraternity Council President and College senior Reginal Murphy, did not respond to immediate request for comment.