Fraternity Association Takes Hard Line Against Hard Liquor

Aiming to put an end to alcohol-related frat-house tragedies that have made headlines nationwide, the North-American Interfraternity Conference has adopted a resolution banning hard liquor in chapter houses starting next year.

The organization that represents the country’s networks of college fraternities has made a bold move to make frat houses safer.

At its annual meeting last week, the North-American Interfraternity Conference, which represents 66 fraternities nationwide, announced that it would require each member to ban alcohol products above 15 percent ABV (alcohol by volume) in their chapter houses by September 1, 2019.

The policy shift, a part of the NIC Health & Safety Initiatives announced last year, is intended to prevent alcohol-related deaths, particularly related to hazing.

“Nearly all hazing and over-consumption deaths in the past two years have involved students consuming high-percentage alcohol beverages,” NIC stated on its website. “The Conference felt it was critically important to act with one voice to effectively implement an industry-wide standard.”

The 15 percent ABV standard specifically targets hard liquor, while allowing beer, wine, and malt beverages to continue to be consumed in chapter houses. The ban includes common areas and individual rooms and applies to students of all ages, not just to those under 21.

The NIC board vote was nearly unanimous, reflecting a tougher stance on the issue than fraternities are generally known for, noted The Chronicle of Higher Education.

But with hazing deaths and sexual assault becoming increasing concerns for colleges and universities, NIC has made reform a priority. It supported the REACH Act, an anti-hazing bill introduced in Congress last year, and in 2015 it announced an initiative to improve its public relations strategy.

“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 news release announcing the new policy. “This action shows fraternities’ clear commitment and leadership to further their focus on the safety of members and all in our communities.”

(RiverNorthPhotography/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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