Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Michigan IFC Bans Frat Alcohol - Supports BYOB

Policy will ban IFC frats from serving alcohol
Change encourages bring your own alcohol policy
By Jillian Berman

Partygoers looking to drink at certain fraternities may have to bring their own booze in the near future.

The Interfratenity Council, one of the largest Greek councils on campus, wants to enforce a policy in its bylaws forbidding fraternities from providing alcohol at its parties. The move would instead require guests to bring their own alcohol.

IFC officials hope the policy will decrease irresponsible drinking, said LSA junior Ryan Spotts, vice president of public relations for the IFC and a member of Pi Kappa Phi.

He said this year's executive board hopes to enforce the policy more effectively than past groups have. He said previous executive board members tried to implement the policy too late in their terms. In Feb. 2005, when the IFC last tried to enforce the plan, executive board members had about one month left in their terms.

Ross School of Business junior Jon Marks, president of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, is on an IFC committee to plan the logistics of the new policy. He said he expects some of his fraternity brothers to question the policy.

"People are going to be skeptical because it's a change," he said. "They haven't been against it, they haven't been for it."

Marks said the committee is trying to figure out how to implement the policy without hindering houses' abilities to hold parties.

"Our two big focuses are liability and the safety aspects of the party," Marks said. "The other important issue that we're looking for is fun. We're throwing parties for a reason."

Spotts said the IFC has been trying to enforce the policy for some time but that fraternity houses have always found ways around it. Many fraternities provide alcohol at their parties, but when asked claim that other people brought it, he said.

He said the IFC will try out the new policy at all parties hosted during the last two weeks of this semester.

If the policy works this time around, party guests would have to check their alcohol much like a coat at a restaurant or club. Partygoers would give their alcohol to designated fraternity brothers, called sober monitors, who are asked not to drink throughout the night. The monitors would then give the guest a tag with a number on it. Any time the guest wants a drink, he or she would bring the tag back to the sober monitor, take some of the alcohol, and then return the bottle to the sober monitor, Spotts said.

LSA freshman Luke Donahue, a member of Psi Upsilon fraternity, said he agrees with the policy, but is concerned it might go too far.

"I'm really worried about them continuing these regulations. They were given this power to control and they just keep continuing to take it," he said. "I think everything they're doing right now is within what they've been given, but sometime within the near future they might start doing things that are borderline."

LSA sophomore Kyle Egerer said he has doubts about the policy's feasibility.

"That's never going to happen," he said. "People wouldn't go to frat parties unless there's free beer, and college students are poor."