March 27, 2019

Nebraska fraternities approve hard alcohol ban

Aerial view of City Campus, including the Nebraska Union (top, left).
Craig Chandler | University Communication

Craig Chandler | University Communication

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Interfraternity Council has unanimously agreed to ban hard alcohol from chapter events — except when served by a licensed third-party vendor.

The new policy, which goes into effect Aug. 1, eliminates all liquor above 15 percent alcohol by volume (30 proof).

The policy mirrors a decision by the member fraternities of the North American Interfraternity Conference to eliminate hard alcohol from chapter facilities and events nationwide by Sept. 1. While five of Nebraska’s 23 fraternities do not belong to the national conference, all voted in support of the policy.

The policy is in line with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s longtime commitment to reduce high-risk drinking by students. That commitment includes the Campus-Community Alcohol Partnership, a program to work with community partners — including local police — to support responsible, low-risk drinking through a three-pronged approach addressing social issues, environmental factors and policies. The campus program, which has become a national model to curb binge drinking, is led by Linda Major, assistant to the vice chancellor for student affairs.

“We firmly believe this change will strengthen our community and demonstrates our ability to self-govern and take proactive measures to enhance the health and safety of our members and guests,” said Justin Henry, president of the Interfraternity Council.

To make the change a success, council leadership says next steps include developing enforcement through self-governance and requesting support from the sororities.

“Ensuring the success of this policy requires support from the entire Greek community,” Henry said. “Together we can choose to help fraternities and sororities thrive for years to come. We look forward to a bright future where both our members and guests are safer at our events.”

In fall 2018 a new party registration system debuted to reduce the negative consequences of excessive noise often associated with parties in residential neighborhoods. The Interfraternity Council supported the implementation of this system and continues to encourage members to register their parties.

Also, 16 campus fraternity chapters are participating in FailSafe, an educational program designed to help reorient risk management toward a harm reduction model with training and tools to support risk managers. FailSafe leads to an agreed upon set of behaviors aims to reduce harm for the community, the chapter and individuals.

“FailSafe will help provide a clear picture about perceived drinking behaviors compared to actual drinking behaviors and give chapters a tool kit for planning safer parties, having difficult conversations with members, and using bystander intervention practices,” Henry said. “We hope this program will help fraternity members make good choices and change the drinking culture at the university.”