Special Projects Director
After a string of high-profile incidents at fraternity houses around the country, the North-American Interfraternity Conference — the nation’s governing body for fraternities — is clamping down on hard alcohol at fraternity houses and social events.
At its Aug. 27 annual meeting, the conference voted to ban the presence of alcohol products above 15 percent alcohol by volume “in any chapter facility or at any chapter event, except when served by a licensed third-party vendor,” according to a Sept. 4 press release.
The NIC has more than 6,100 chapters on 800 campuses, representing more than 80 percent of fraternities in the country, according to its website. The hard liquor ban will begin Sept. 1, 2019 in an effort to reduce alcohol-induced health issues among the Greek community.
“At their core, fraternities are about brotherhood, personal development and providing a community of support,” Judson Horras, NIC president and CEO, said in the press release. “Alcohol abuse and its serious consequences endanger this very purpose.”
The change comes after numerous hazing-related deaths in recent years at university campuses around the country, including the 2017 death of 19-year-old Timothy Piazza from Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Penn State University.
At least 16 VCU social fraternities are members of the NIC and will be affected by the ban, according to the list of Greek organizations from the University Student Commons and Activities Sorority and Fraternity Life website:
- Alpha Kappa Lambda
- Alpha Phi Alpha
- Zeta Beta Tau
- Theta Chi
- Theta Delta Chi
- Kappa Alpha Psi
- Kappa Delta Rho
- Lambda Phi Epsilon
- Pi Kappa Alpha
- Sigma Beta Rho
- Sigma Phi Epsilon
- Sigma Chi
- Phi Gamma Delta
- Phi Kappa Psi
- Phi Beta Sigma
Horras said changes like this one — and the implementation of good Samaritan policies — show fraternities have a “clear commitment and leadership to further their focus on the safety of members and all in our communities.”
“It’s pretty reasonable to have a limit at 15 percent,” said Kevin Norizadeh, president of the VCU chapter of Kappa Delta Rho.
However, Norizadeh said he thinks people who have gotten in trouble for drinking before will likely find ways around the prohibition.
“It’s kind of unnecessary,” he said. “I don’t think it’ll really change anything for the better and people will still find a way to keep doing what they were doing.”
Jordan Glisan, VCU chapter president of Phi Beta Sigma, said although a ban on alcohol is not completely necessary, it does take into account the people affected by alcohol abuse.
“When people are losing their lives or getting very sick because alcohol is involved, then certain actions like a ban on alcohol isn’t a bad thing,” Glisan said. “None of our organizations were founded so we can sit in the house and drink alcohol. All of us were founded on and believe in brotherhood, so alcohol is just not always necessary.”