UMN fraternities ban hard alcohol

The ban is an effort to combat over-consumption of alcohol on campus.

Zach Kosel and Dan Davidson watch to see if they make the cup during a beer pong game outside their fraternity on Friday, April 20 in Minneapolis.

Image by Ellen Schmidt

Zach Kosel and Dan Davidson watch to see if they make the cup during a beer pong game outside their fraternity on Friday, April 20 in Minneapolis.

by Jordan Willauer

On Sunday, fraternities at the University of Minnesota banned hard alcohol following the announcement of a nation-wide ban from the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC).

The University of Minnesota Interfraternity Council (IFC) implemented the ban after the NIC announced in a Sept. 4 statement that all alcohol with over 15 percent alcohol by volume at member fraternity houses and chapter events would be banned, except when supplied by a third-party vendor. The University IFC decided at a Sunday meeting to jumpstart the process, despite not being required to implement the ban until September 2019.

“It’s in effect now, and all chapters are expected to enforce it as of today,” said Quinn Roessler, president of the University’s FarmHouse Fraternity.

University fraternity chapters have until Oct. 31 to amend their chapter bylaws to reflect the new policy, although the policy is already in effect campus-wide.

Roessler said the implementation and enforcement of the ban will be decided by each individual fraternity, and the IFC is still currently undecided on how enforcement will take place.

“Nearly all hazing and over-consumption deaths in the past two years have involved students consuming high-percentage alcohol beverages,” the NIC said on its website as to why the ban is being established. “The [NIC] felt it was critically important to act with one voice to effectively implement an industry-wide standard.” 

Billy Langer, the University IFC president, supported the decision to ban hard alcohol, calling it a “no-brainer.” He added that it’s a step in the right direction for healthier fraternities. 

The University IFC would support local fraternity chapters as they decide how best to implement and enforce the ban, Langer said.

Almost all University fraternities are subject to the ban as members of the NIC. Tau Kappa Epsilon, Kappa Sigma and Phi Delta Theta are the only fraternities at the University that are not affected by the ban.

“Tau Kappa Epsilon is not a part of the [NIC]. We wish [the NIC] well in their implementation of their policy across all member organizations,” said Alex Baker, Chief Information Officer of Tau Kappa Epsilon’s national chapter.

A ban on hard alcohol is not a completely new idea on campus. The University’s Beta Theta Pi chapter has had such a ban in effect since August, after the fraternity’s national chapter implemented it, said David Bock, president of the fraternity.

“We have a pretty positive attitude about it,” Bock said. “There was some pushback when we got the news in February. … People now understand that it’s practical in order to protect the health and safety of their brothers.”