Insurance forces kegger’s last haven to go keg-free

Seth Woerhle

This month marked the end of what was formerly a college staple: the fraternity kegger.

On Nov. 1, rising insurance costs forced Delta Kappa Epsilon to give up their kegs, making them the last Interfraternity Council member -thus the last major international fraternity on campus – to stop using kegs and other communal containers.

The change came after DKE’s national office switched its insurance to Fraternity Insurance and Purchasing Group, the same provider that most other IFC fraternities share.

“Over the last year, because of the economy and 9/11, our insurance doubled, if not more,” DKE President Jay Fourniea said.

Fourniea said DKE used to pay between $2,000 and $3,000 a year for the extra liability of kegs, and now their new insurance costs roughly the same as their older, keg-friendlier policy.

Although the IFC has a no-kegs clause in its bylaws, it allowed DKE to remain in the organization because the fraternity’s national office had approved the practice.

Fraternities across the country have come under legal attack because of injuries, fatalities, rapes and assaults blamed on fraternities providing alcohol irresponsibly, according to Casey Buboltz, IFC risk management vice president.

“A common container is really hard to control. And when you buy a keg, everyone assumes responsibility for everyone for drinking,” Buboltz said. “Having a keg raises the stakes.”

Fourniea said he was not certain, but thought DKE had been the sole IFC member with communal containers since the early 1990s.

He said losing the kegs may have been a blow to the organization’s tradition, but that the fraternity stood for more than parties.

“It’ll change the way we run our parties because it costs a lot more money to throw the same kind of party without kegs,” Fourniea said. “It was something that the house was known for, but we’ve worked through that and that’s not what this house was built on.”