Monday, March 28, 2011

U of Washington Greeks Not in Favor of 3rd Party Vendors

Fraternities choose to not move forward with third-party alcohol vendors by Anna Chatilo

After a trial run hiring an outside company to check IDs and distribute alcohol, the general consensus during a fraternity presidents’ meeting the following day was not in favor of proceeding with the new system.

On March 8, fraternities in the Greek system tried out a new system and hired a third-party alcohol vendor, which entails a paid bartender checking IDs and additional time at the bar selling drinks to those of age.

On March 9, Alex Strohofer, Pi Kappa Phi’s president, said the Greek system would not continue to hire an outside company. “The presidents decided that it’s not something that they wanted to move forward [with],” he said. “It was an overwhelming majority of opposition to the new system.”

The party didn’t result in a large turnout, but Strohofer thinks it was successful considering the placement of the party time-wise - which was held on a weekday before finals - and for being something different from the usual.

“For the event being the first one of its kind and being during what we call ‘dead week,’ I think I was surprised with the turnout,” he said. “It took a while to get going, and it died out quickly, but there was a period of time where I thought you could pull out a lot of similarities between the events that are thrown now and the event on Tuesday.”

While most presidents do not support the new system, Strohofer said he will continue to advocate for it. “The reason I’m pushing this is because I think it could be a safer and more effective way of doing things,” he said. “I see the benefit in it, and … I think it’s the way we should move. I feel I’m obligated to try.”

Strohofer said a major benefit of instating a third-party alcohol vendor would be that the legal liability is taken out of the hands of the fraternity members and placed upon the third-party vendor, which has a $1 million insurance policy.

However, popular opposition to the system includes increased pre-party drinking and usage of fake IDs.

Though he is firm in his decision, Strohofer acknowledges that it will be challenging to continue campaigning for a system that lacks support from the Greek community.

“It’s just very difficult to move forward with a community if there isn’t support,” he said. “It was very difficult just to organize that one event because of the controversy surrounding [it].”

Striving to change the rules in a Greek system that is more than 100 years old is proving to be more difficult than Strohofer had anticipated. “I think that any kind of change is really hard to accept,” Strohofer said. “I think that it’s completely understandable; I can see both sides of [the issue]. There was the same kind of controversy surrounding moving away from hard alcohol two and a half years ago when we did that.”

The issue may not be moving forward in the way Strohofer would like, but he is satisfied that all the presidents had collaborated for at least one trial run.

“I was really happy to see the presidents come together and try it out and make the step that we did take.” Strohofer has no specific plans on moving the issue forward.