WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Feb. 20, 2015) - This week, Purdue University's Interfraternity Council voted to ban drinks that have 15 percent alcohol content or more. That means any hard alcohol above 30 proof will no longer be allowed on fraternity properties.
The Panhellenic Association, which oversees sororities on campus, also passed a resolution that encourages members not to drink hard alcohol at events or chapter facilities.
Of the 42 fraternities at Purdue, only one chapter president voted against the proposal at Tuesday's Interfraternity Council meeting. The measure builds on a long standing rule banning hard liquor from fraternity events since 1987. Now, hard alcohol is being banned from the fraternity properties altogether.
“This is kind of that next step," says Brandon Cutler, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Fraternity, Sorority and Cooperative Life at Purdue. "If we already know that we’re not supposed to have it at events, why is it there at all?”
Matt Gebbie, President of the Interfraternity Council, hopes the new rule will cut down on risky behavior.
“It’s just something looking at issues we deal with here and across college campuses in general," says Gebbie. "Hard alcohol seems to be an issue, and so we just really wanted to put a policy in place to kind of get that out of the picture before we saw any more issues with it.”
Even if the idea isn't popular with all students, Gebbie believes banning hard liquor was the right move.
“It is a tough decision to make, because there are a lot of people who probably won’t want to make it," says Gebbie. "But having said that, being leaders you do make tough decisions. So the fact that we are making those tough decisions to do what is right for the greater good really makes me proud.”
Some students, however, question whether the rules will actually be enforced.
“With all of our organizations that own their own properties, a lot of that burden falls on them to enforce their own policies," says Cutler. "With the vote that took place the other night, there was only one dissenting vote in the fraternity council. So we believe chapter leadership is committed to being a part of this process as well.”
Gebbie says there is also a program in place where functions are monitored to make sure fraternities and sororities follow the rules. He says there is also a third layer of enforcement - the fire department.
"The fire department also goes through and does fire inspections at each of the houses, and if they see something that breaks one of our rules, then they can let us know about that as well," adds Gebbie.
“It is a tough decision to make, because there are a lot of people who probably won’t want to make it, but having said that, being leaders you do make tough decisions. So the fact that we are making those tough decisions to do what is right and the greater good really makes me proud.”
Infractions also come with specific consequences.
“For the first offense, the maximum penalty will be 16 weeks probation and a $1,000 fine," explains Gebbie. "For the second offense, the penalty would be a full year of probation and then a $1,000 fine as well.”
After two years, past offenses will not be considered when determining penalties.