Wednesday, February 07, 2007

University of Arizona Has 8 Greek Groups on Probation

Seven fraternities, one sorority on probation for alcohol violations
By: Kate G. Stevens

Seven fraternities and a sorority are on probation until the end of the semester for alcohol-related violations that range from open parties to minors consuming alcohol.

The probations, which occurred between the start of the fall 2006 semester and January, mean that the fraternities cannot hold parties where alcohol is available, said Anthony Skevakis, program coordinator of judicial affairs for the dean of students office.

"Almost every time a student is assaulted or needs medical care, we can trace it back to a party involving alcohol at a fraternity house," said Sgt. Eugene Mejia, spokesman for the University of Arizona Police Department.

Pi Kappa Phi fraternity was cited for eight minor-in-possession violations on bid night Sept. 1, according to UAPD police records, which could be why it was put on probation Oct. 19, said Gary Ballinger, UA director of fraternity and sorority programs.

Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity was placed on probation Oct. 3 and had several minor-in-possession citations on bid night.

The other fraternities cited were Delta Chi, Phi Kappa Tau, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Kappa Sigma and Sigma Pi. Six of the seven fraternies and Sigma Kappa sorority will be on probation until May, and Sigma Phi Epsilon until April.

Gary Ballinger, UA director of fraternity and sorority programs, said he could not release information on exactly which violation put each fraternity on probation because each was given several liquor citations. He said he couldn't elaborate on why Sigma Kappa received probation because he didn't have any details.

"In the last six years, the (UAPD) interaction with fraternities has been consistent, and that's very disappointing," Mejia said.

The Dean of Students Office is in charge of overseeing punishment for fraternities that are involved in serious offenses, such as when a person is hospitalized with alcohol poisoning from a fraternity party or when minor-in-possession violations occur, Skevakis said.

"The big point I'd like to make is that there's no difference between the greeks and the non-greeks," Skevakis said. "They just tend to get caught more."Part of the reason fraternities get into trouble with alcohol violations is that they hold parties with hundreds of people in attendance, as opposed to the five to 10 people who party with alcohol in other on-campus housing, Skevakis said.

"Fraternities know it's wrong and they continue to engage in dangerous activities involved with drinking and underage participants," Mejia said. "Then we are called in to the situation."

According to the Greek Life Policies and Procedures for parties that involve alcohol, fraternities cannot hold open parties, meaning all guests must be formally invited. They must verify guests are of legal drinking age, they must provide security and they must be able to provide taxi rides home. Parties must also be registered in advance, with signatures of the chapter executive officers, Skevakis said.

"We never say 'no parties,' and we understand that having parties is a part of any institution," Mejia said. It is only when violations occur that UAPD has to get involved, he said.

Officials from all seven fraternities declined to comment.

UAPD does not hunt down fraternity parties to check whether violations occur, Mejia said. UAPD usually finds out when an officer runs into a student who is sick with alcohol poisoning, underage students stumbling down the street or assault happening outside a party, he said."They just have to police themselves a lot better," he said.