When you read some of the numbers at the bottom of the article it sounds like a good idea.
'Animal Houses' clean up act
By Dan Sewell
CINCINNATI | Potential pledges to Phi Delta Theta held cans of Coca-Cola during rush week, with no beer kegs in sight. For a date night activity, the fraternity's University of Cincinnati chapter organized a hayride, not a toga party.
It's an alcohol-free house, part of an effort by a smattering of fraternities nationally to battle student binge drinking while cleaning up the Animal House image of campus Greek life.
"There's not parties going on all the time, people stumbling over themselves," said Matt Deger, a fourth-year accounting student and a leader of the UC chapter.
Oxford-based Phi Delta Theta was one of the first national fraternities to go dry, making the move in 2000. But most fraternities have resisted outright alcohol bans, contending that drinking socially is part of college and fraternity life and that it's better to stress education and drinking responsibly than to take away individual choice.
Out of 70 national fraternities, at least 11 ban alcohol in their campus houses. The Association of Fraternity Advisors says individual chapters in campuses across the country have adopted similar policies, and some 20 percent of fraternity members now live in alcohol-free housing (sororities have been traditionally alcohol-free).
Some fraternity houses were forced to go dry because of university bans for all campus housing. About a third of universities and colleges now have such policies to combat problem drinking among students.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says studies link alcohol use to more than 1,700 student deaths (including drinking-related car crashes) a year. Surveys have found that estimates of the number of students who say they have done binge drinking (five or more alcohol drinks in a row for men, four for women) in the prior two weeks have consistently been about 44 percent, despite anti-drinking initiatives.
There have also been crackdowns on alcohol at sporting events, but much of the alcohol abuse has been associated with fraternities and a culture of alcohol-dominated parties and hazing initiations for pledges.
"I think you can probably go to about any large campus with a Greek community and look at discipline issues that have involved fraternities, and probably 99 percent of them are based on alcohol," said Edward G. Whipple, vice president for student affairs at Bowling Green State University.
However, some national fraternities have preferred to stress alcohol education while guarding against underage drinking and alcohol abuse.
"Generally speaking, the approach is self-governance and personal responsibility, as opposed to an outright ban on alcohol," said Tom Olver, director of communications for Beta Theta Pi, also Oxford-based. He said 16 of the fraternity's 122 chapters nationally have alcohol bans.
The University of Oklahoma barred drinking in its fraternities and residence halls one year ago, after a Sigma Chi pledge was found dead of alcohol poisoning inside the fraternity house in Norman, Okla.
The school also can suspend students after the third alcohol-related offense on or off campus, places a variety of restrictions on fraternity rushes, and requires alcohol education for incoming students.
"I hope that I will never again have the sad duty to discuss the tragic loss of a son or daughter due to alcohol abuse with grieving parents and family members," university President David Boren said when he announced his plan.
Alcohol abuse study
Studies have shown the costly toll alcohol abuse has taken on the nation's college campuses. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports these annual estimates based on findings of various studies in recent years of college drinking:
• Some 1,700 college students, ages 18-24, die each year from alcohol-related injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.
• More than 696,000 students are assaulted annually by another student who has been drinking.
• More than 97,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
• About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class and receiving lower grades overall.
• More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem.
• About 11 percent of college student drinkers report that they have damaged property while under the influence of alcohol.
• About 5 percent of four-year college students are involved with the police or campus security as a result of their drinking. An estimated 110,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are arrested on an alcohol-related charge such as public drunkenness or driving under the influence.