Stanford Frats Revise Drinking Policy

The party's not over at Stanford University, but it may be safer, thanks to the efforts of the Interfraternity Council (IFC) to address the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.

Because of the central role Stanford fraternities play in the school's social life, their attempt to enforce drinking regulations will have a significant effect on the rest of the university, according to Joseph M. Pisano, fraternal affairs advisor for the Office of Residential Education.

An IFC task force created last fall recently issued a shorter, clarified version of the already existing IFC's alcohol guidelines. The revisions will be presented to the full IFC for approval at their next meeting, but no opposition is expected, according to The Stanford Daily.

The revised guidelines will be easier to enforce because they are clearer and more concise, said senior Stewart K. Levy, who is the vice president of the IFC and a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. However, no specific enforcement policy exists for the guidelines.

The guidelines ban taking straight shots of alcohol and require that hard liquor be diluted at least 50 percent with a non-alcoholic beverage. Another stipulation requires at least five members of the fraternity hosting a party to remain sober to monitor the party.

In addition, the requirements state that non-alcoholic alternatives must be provided whenever alcohol is served. Hard liquor should not be served after midnight, and beer and wine should not be served after 1:30 a.m.

While Levy admitted that enforcement of similar guidelines in the past "has been pretty lax," he expects that the clarified rules along with the general increase in awareness throughout the university will mean that more people will abide by the guidelines.

This new emphasis on alcohol safety at Stanford is in part a response to the alcohol-related death of a student during fraternity rush last year, said Pisano. This incident focused campus attention on the abuse of alcohol and prompted the creation of university and IFC programs designed to make students more aware of the dangers of alcohol abuse.

Most recently, the IFC and the Cowell Student Health Center instituted an educational program and clarified the existing fraternity alcohol guidelines.

The educational program consists of an information packet developed by the IFC and Cowell's alcohol and drug prevention specialist, Louise Miller. This packet, which describes the dangers of excessive drinking, will soon be distributed to all fraternity members.

Miller said the health center has created the post of "substance abuse coordinator" to oversee the health services programs looking at patterns of alcohol and drug abuse. In addition, Miller has worked with the IFC to develop an informational course on alcohol which students can take for credit this spring.