North-American Interfraternity Conference announces ban on drinks with high alcohol content

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The North-American Interfraternity Conference, or NIC, approved a resolution that will ban hard liquor in chapter houses and at parties in most circumstances, as first reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The resolution was approved Aug. 27 at the NIC’s annual meeting and requires that its 66 member fraternities implement the policy by Sept. 1, 2019. The policy will prohibit the presence of alcohol products with more than 15 percent alcohol by volume, or ABV — unless it is provided by a licensed outside vendor — in all common spaces within the houses and residents’ personal rooms, even if the resident is over 21 years of age. Each member fraternity will be responsible for implementing this policy within its chapters.

“At their core, fraternities are about brotherhood, personal development and providing a community of support,” said NIC President and CEO Judson Horras in a press release. “Alcohol abuse and its serious consequences endanger this very purpose. This action shows fraternities’ clear commitment and leadership to further their focus on the safety of members and all in our communities.”

NIC did not provide a comment as of press time.

Nearly all hazing and overconsumption deaths among fraternities in the past two years have involved students consuming drinks with high ABV, according to the NIC website. This resolution was created to combat these events by creating “an industry-wide standard.”

Karen Hughes, a project coordinator for [email protected], said the resolution could represent a “positive change” in student alcohol consumption, but is reserving judgement until more information is released regarding accountability and long-term sustainability. Hughes said “words on paper” do not always reflect the reality inside chapter houses.

Hughes said the effort to make the Cloyne Court co-op substance-free after the overdose of former resident John Gibson in 2010 was successful, and that a similar result could come out of the hard alcohol ban in fraternities.

“Party Safe is supportive of the direction this resolution is taking because it’s important to explore what being hard-alcohol-free might mean in certain settings,” Hughes said. “We are in coalition with the IFC (Interfraternity Council) and will support them in any ways we can that make sense.”

ASUC Senator Zach Carter ran on an anti-sexual violence campaign, and said in an email that this resolution could “reduce malicious druggings with intent to harm” because it is more difficult to tamper with a keg or can of a beverage.

“I still feel as though sexual assault violations are caused by misinformation and a lack of understanding regarding consent and intimate partner violence rather than substance consumption, and it is through creating healthier social norms and education that this can be remedied,” Carter said in an email.

Contact Amanda Bradford at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @amandabrad_uc.