Purdue Greeks go dry after drinking incidents
By Jennie Runevitch
West Lafayette - Fraternities and sororities at Purdue have taken unprecedented action against dangerous drinking. The students decided to ban alcohol.
As the weekend started at Sigma Chi, something stopped in the frat house.
All Purdue fraternities, sororities and cooperative houses now have a ban on drinking indefinitely. That means no alcohol in chapter houses or at Greek-sponsored events.
Student leaders gathered for an emergency meeting Wednesday night. After two hours, they voted and declared the drinking moratorium.
The students say it sends a strong message about a growing problem.
"It wasn't popular by any means, but my members understood that someone's life was lost and we're all playing with disaster when hard alcohol is present," said Sigma Chi president Brandon Cortez.
"Really we've just seen high, over-consumption of hard alcohol, specifically by underage drinkers," added Purdue's Interfraternity Council president Nick Kitchell.
This past Sunday, a sophomore student died after she reportedly attended an off-campus party.
Student leaders say the ban is not in response to her death, but rather to an increase in dangerous drinking all across campus.
Purdue reports 23 medical calls related to alcohol this semester.
"High levels of intoxication with their members and other students at Purdue, increased levels of blood alcohol content once they get to the hospital," said Kyle Pendleton, Assistant Dean of Students and director of fraternity and sorority life.
Students say this is not prohibition. Fraternity and sorority members can still grab a drink at a bar. They just cannot drink alcohol at chapter-sponsored events. That includes tailgating at this weekend's football game.
"I've already spoken to some alumni who have called and they heard about the moratorium and I had to break the news that you can't come over and drink and we're sorry, but those are the rules for now," Cortez said.
The rules could change when Greek leaders meet next Wednesday.
They plan to lift the ban once they come up with a long-term solution to curb dangerous drinking.
Until then, they say students will be sober and safe.