Sunday, February 25, 2007

CU Fraternities - No Parties for Two Weeks

Frats: No parties for two weeks
Chapter leaders will attend training on risk management
By Brittany Anas

University of Colorado fraternity leaders have banned their chapters from having parties for the next two weeks, saying they want to squelch an over-the-top partying trend before it goes too far.

Marc Stine, a Greek advocate hired by the Interfraternity Council, described the students' decision as a precautionary measure. He said the fraternity leaders are bold for addressing the problem early on, and called their decision "courageous leadership."

"Over a period of several months we've seen an increase in parties getting bigger and louder," Stine said. "There's been more alcohol consumption than we like to see at our parties, and police have closed some down and fraternity presidents have closed some down."

During the two-week "social moratorium," fraternity leaders will go through leadership and risk-management training, Stine said. They will hear from professionals, including a fire-safety expert, a Boulder police sergeant and an attorney.

Stine said the majority of fraternities have new and young leaders.
"It's a trend that started in the middle of the fall semester, which is around the turnover in the leadership," Stine said.

Fraternities take several measures to make sure parties are safe, Stine said, including hiring security officers, registering events ahead of time with police and marking "X's" on the hands of underage party-goers so they aren't served alcohol.
Christopher Kline, president of the Interfraternity Council, said the ban is not linked to any specific episode but is the result of an increase in chapters violating the council's rules. He said this year's fraternity leaders want to prevent tragedies.

"In years past, the IFC, which represents the 1,000 men in our fraternity community, waited for minor issues to grow and get out of hand, until there was a 'blow up' or a tragedy occurred," Kline said in a statement.

The fraternities issued party bans after the alcohol poisoning death of Lynn "Gordie" Bailey in 2004. They issued another ban in fall 2005 after several women were hospitalized because of alcohol-related problems.

Bailey's mother, Leslie Lanahan, has filed a civil suit claiming the Chi Psi fraternity and some of its former Boulder chapter members were negligent during the Greek ritual and are responsible for her son's alcohol-poisoning death.

Another ban was put in place last spring after CU student Jesse Gomez died. Gomez had attended a fraternity party the night before his body was found, but the coroner ruled his death as "undetermined" and said Gomez was not lethally drunk, nor did he have drugs in his system.

The executive board of the Interfraternity Council made the decision at its meeting Wednesday. Fraternity presidents and representatives gave unanimous consent after a lengthy discussion.

The ban applies to all 15 fraternities that are part of the Interfraternity Council.