Several incidents, including streaking and assaults over the course of the current school year means no more alcohol for the rest of the year at all fraternities and sororities at the University of North Dakota (UND) in Grand Forks. This change puts the university on a growing list of schools cracking down on activities such as binge drinking and hazing at their Greek institutions.
However, residents of the Greek houses who are 21 years old may still consume alcohol inside the house, making the new restrictions difficult to enforce. Peter Johnson, vice president for university relations, said of the new policy: “[it is] Demonstrating that we have a Greek community here that is willing to take some leadership and do some self-policing. There’s a general notion that this is a positive step.”
Many students don’t agree with the new policy, in part because of its seeming ineffectiveness. “I think it’s silly because it’s still going to be here. People are still going to find ways [to drink] and I don’t think it’s the alcohol. I think it’s some people and how they act,” said Tashina Vilas.
Other colleges and universities to ban alcohol from Greek events include the University of Central Florida after the death of a freshman girl in 2011; Southern Illinois University; the University of Northern Colorado; and the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.
One hundred four deaths
Why ban alcohol at Greek events? The New York Times recently ran an article on the dangers of hazing in college fraternities and sororities, and “alcohol is the not-so-secret ingredient that turns pledging into hazing.” Such hazing has accounted for at least 104 deaths since 1970.
Apart from reducing hazing incidents, alcohol bans in Greek houses lower insurance costs and annual maintenance and cleaning bills for housing facilities. For some colleges, the money saved could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
Only a few weeks remain in the UND school year, making the alcohol ban seem like more of a PR move than a true attempt at toning down Greek parties. But maybe the short-term benefits will turn this new rule into a long-term policy change.
Photo from tetradtx via flickr