Pass the hard liquor ban

James Treuthardt

The Texas Interfraternity Council will vote on a new policy banning hard liquor from all fraternity events next Wednesday, Oct. 3. The policy arrives at a time when fraternities are under increasing scrutiny due to the recent high-profile deaths of pledges, sexual violence at fraternity parties and alcohol abuse. In order to ensure the safety of not only the members of fraternities, but also those outside of the fraternities, the IFC must pass this policy.

Alcohol abuse by adolescents affects thousands annually. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 4,500 underage people die each year from alcohol abuse. Despite grave statistics, nearly 29 percent of 12th graders surveyed reported binge drinking in the last two weeks. When students enter college, alcohol is more readily available, especially through Greek organizations, and problems arise.

“There’s always been a problem with adolescent alcohol abuse (in Greek organizations),“ said Peter Driscoll, the council president and a science and technology management and government senior. “What we are doing is saying (that) as Greek organizations, we do not condone hard alcohol consumption.”

A hard alcohol ban from Greek organizations can serve as a strong cultural shift and may encourage binge drinking to decrease. Colleges that have enacted hard liquor bans have seen largely positive effects. Dartmouth College, which enacted a hard liquor ban in 2015, saw decreased alcohol-related medical incidents on campus.

The North-American Interfraternity Conference, an organization aiming to change Greek culture, wants fraternities to ban fraternity-provided hard liquor at fraternity functions. However, the IFC proposal takes it one step further by banning hard liquor from third party vendors as well.

This policy would help to prevent alcohol abuse among college students and also play a role in decreasing sexual violence on UT’s campus. According to the 2017 CLASE Survey released by UT, alcohol contributes to sexual violence. When unwanted sexual contact occurred at UT, 84 percent of perpetrators and 69 percent of victims had used drugs or alcohol. Eighty-seven percent of those incidents occurred off campus.

Fraternities provide alcohol to a substantial portion of the students attending their parties. While fraternity members do not commit all acts of sexual violence on campus, providing alcohol does lead to some perpetrators’ crimes.

“Alcohol, especially hard liquor, is at the root of a lot of humanity’s problems,” Driscoll said. “It destroys your judgment.”

Cutting out hard liquor can only serve to improve student safety. Fraternities, however, have to vote to decide whether or not to pass the policy. Fraternities need to make the right choice and ban hard liquor. Student safety should always trump the ability to get drunk at a party. Hard liquor in fraternities has caused problems all around the United States. It’s time to get rid of it.

Treuthardt is a journalism and marketing junior from Allen.