University of Minnesota fraternities vote to ban alcohol after string of sexual assaults.
Fraternities at the University of Minnesota are going dry, at least for now.
The Inter-Fraternity Council voted Sunday to ban alcohol at any event involving guests in any fraternity chapter house.
"When any guests are present, no alcohol is allowed to be consumed by anyone on the chapter premises, regardless of whether they are over 21," Council President Martin Chorzempa said.
The action comes in the wake of three sexual assaults at three fraternity houses on University Avenue in the last three weeks.
In the latest case, police say a woman said she was sexually assaulted at the Phi Gamma Delta house last Thursday night.
Some reports have said that all parties were banned at fraternity houses, but Council President Chorzempa elaborated.
"We are still allowed to have social events as long as they are 'dry'. So, as long as no alcohol is consumed on the chapter premises, chapters can have all the events that they want," he explained.
Chorzempa claimed the outcome of the change could be positive.
"We are looking at this as an opportunity to move forward and kind of re-evaluate the way we enforce the rules," he said. "It is in all of our best interests now. The chapters that are following the rules want everybody else to be following the rules."
Students like U of M senior Amanda Gordon are skeptical. "I think it would cause more trouble than it is worth. People would drink anyway and then it would be a giant disciplinary problem. How do you enforce something like that?"
Gerald Rinehart, U of M Vice Provost for Student Affairs, says that the assaults tied to drinking are frustrating.
"We actually do put a lot of time into helping train the students to understand policies around guarding the doors and responsible serving of alcohol. When people forget that and it all breaks down, that is when these kinds of situations occur."
Although the fraternities are all off-campus, Rinehart insists they are not beyond the University's reach.
"We can work with Alumni chapters and with the National Chapter to influence a decision about whether that chapter is going to stay on campus or not. It will not be our decision, but we can certainly have an influence on it," he says.
Rinehart says the "Greek" system, itself, must exert its own peer pressure.
Inter-Fraternity Council President Chorzempa agrees.
"We have pretty elaborate enforcement mechanisms in place. The Inter-fraternity Executive Council will be involved in checking around, making sure that houses are not violating this," he said.
Minneapolis police continue their investigation into the three sexual assault reports.
No arrests have been made.
Police Spokesperson Sgt. William Palmer said all three incidents involved alcohol.