Greeks and Binge Drinking
Greek life has always had its? problems with underage and binge drinking. Though, lately it seems like the number of problems and even deaths due to binge drinking has been on the rise. To try curbing these problems, the Pan-Hellenic council, which is the governing body of all sororities on CMU?s campus, has decided to drastically change one of their alcohol policies. This change has come in the form of article 12 which states, that no sorority or sorority member may partake in any party at a fraternity house, were alcohol is present. On the other hand, fraternities here at CMU are not showing the same support for article twelve that sororities have. With this mixed reaction for article 12 it is going to be hard to instill and enforce the rule to fraternity and sorority members.
First, lets take a look at CMU?s past alcohol policies that fraternities and sororities had to abide by. According to, Central Michigan?s web site on alcohol awareness; fraternities have had a consistent alcohol policy that has stayed the same since they have been registered organizations on CMU?s campus. Fraternities are allowed to drink in their houses, and have parties with alcohol present. The only restrictions that they have is that they are not allowed to have full keg barrels in their house?s, and they must provide a beer check at all their parties (1). A beer check is a place were sorority and fraternity members, who are attending the party, may check in their beer with a sober brother for safe keeping. The check can come in the form of a number of things. It may be a cooler filled with ice, or even a full sized refrigerator. On the other hand, Sororities had a much different alcohol policy in the past. All sorority houses are dry, which means that they are always drug and alcohol free. This rule still remains in effect and is strictly enforced. Also, sorority members were allowed to drink at fraternity houses, as long as two sobers were present from the sorority to give rides to any intoxicated members (1). This is the area where the drastic change has occurred.
During the spring semester of 2000, the Pan Hellenic council voted into effect a rule that changed the way sorority and fraternity social events will take place forever here at CMU. They passed article twelve, which prevents sorority members from consuming alcohol in a Fraternity house. This law was passed to try and decrease the amount of under age and binge drinking done by sorority members, due to the recent heat that Fraternities and Sororities have been receiving from the media because of binge drinking.
Binge drinking is becoming increasingly popular on all college campuses throughout the country, and is causing major problems for college students. According to a study done by Dr. Henry Wechsler at the Harvard school of public health, forty four percent of college students are binge drinkers. Among that forty four percent, fraternity and sorority members are four times more likely to become binge drinkers compared to other students. (Wechsler 3). The reason why sororities want to crack down on binge drinking is because it causes a number of serious problems for college students. For example, frequent binge drinkers are sixteen time more likely than non-binge drinkers to miss class, get behind in their school work, engage in unplanned sexual activity, not use protection while having sex, get in trouble with campus police, damage property, or to get hurt or injured (Wechsler 5). As you can see, binge drinking can quickly ruin a student?s college career or their life.
Even though article twelve was put into effect to help sorority women, most fraternity men are not happy with the rule. Ty Burnett, president of the IFC, which is the governing body for fraternities here at CMU stated ? I don?t like to admit this, but the truth of the matter is that a lot of guys join fraternities just for the drunken parties with sorority members. When you take this aspect away from them, then they see no other reason to be involved in a fraternity.? As sad as this may sound it is true, fraternities have always been known for their huge and out of control parties, and as long as they?re allowed to have these parties, binge drinking will always be a problem. So far, article twelve has not done much to prevent sorority girls from partying at fraternity houses. Girls still go to fraternity parties and drink, they just don?t let their presidents or chapter advisors know about it. The only difference from the past is that fraternities don?t register their parties with the college anymore. If they did that, then no sorority girls would be allowed at their houses when they hold open parties.
Fraternity parties are getting larger and are becoming more and more dangerous. ?I was having a great night. I drank at least 15 beers, and then I completely blacked out? (Wechsler 3). It is not uncommon to here a statement like this from a fraternity or sorority member the day after they had attended a party, or went out drinking. As you can guess behaviors like this are not healthy, and until article twelve is strictly enforced, college students will keep acting like this. ?Several people were drunk at this fraternity party. Some of the guys were kicked out because they were so drunk they were urinating on the walls. The entire place reeked of beer, and people were covered in it? (Weschsler 3). This statement may sound absolutely appalling to the average American, but to the college student; it sounds exactly like the fraternity party they just attended the night before. This behavior is not normal, it ruins lives, and it gives college campuses bad names. Article twelve was put into effect to help deter this kind of behavior, but you can?t just implement a rule and hope it will take care of the problem all by itself. Like any other law, the rule must be strictly enforced to have any effect. Until article twelve is enforced and taken seriously Central Michigan?s fraternities and sororities will continue to have a binge-drinking problem. It may not completely banish binge drinking, but it will definitely decrease it.