Alcohol will be banned at many fraternities on the campuses of U.S. colleges and universities, according to the national association that sets policy for those organizations.
The North American Interfraternity Conference approved a resolution last week saying its 66-member fraternities must "adopt and implement a policy by September 1, 2019, that prohibits the presence of alcohol products above 15 percent [alcohol by volume] in any chapter facility or at any chapter event, except when served by a licensed third-party vendor," according to a press statement.
In an important, decisive action to enhance health and safety in fraternity communities, the 66 fraternities of the NIC adopted a Standard prohibiting hard alcohol from fraternity chapter facilities and events. https://t.co/JBBHKlcmKj pic.twitter.com/vRwd93Uo2R— North American Interfraternity Conference (@nicfraternity) September 4, 2018
Most hard liquor such as vodka, scotch, whiskey, tequila and rum have an alcohol content above 15 percent. Beer and wine typically have an alcohol content lower than 15 percent alcohol.
Drinking has increasingly become an issue on college campuses in the U.S. Several drinking-related deaths have occurred, usually in a student's freshman, or first, year and often when going through rituals to be accepted in fraternities.
Some schools offer "dry" dorms for students who don't want alcohol consumed in their living spaces. Others have created fraternities that bring non-drinkers together, such as Muslim fraternities.
One study revealed that some college students skip meals so they can consume those calories by drinking alcohol later in the day and avoid weight gain.
The ban will cover all areas of a fraternity house, including common rooms and bedrooms.
Emergency room physician Louis Profeta blogs about the perils of extreme drinking.
He described a dorm room where the smell of feces and urine filled the air, and how a roommate tripped over his fraternity brother lying dead on the floor after a night of five vodka slammers, one after another.
"Dead, waxy, with rock-still, clouded eyes ... you could never envision a stare so distant," Profeta writes in his blog. "You played pickup basketball yesterday at the campus rec center and … now, he is so still, laying among the pile of yet-to-be-washed clothes or wrapped up in a blanket on a [urine]-soaked IKEA futon delivered to him last week."
Profeta sees students coming through the emergency department of Saint Vincent's Medical Center in Indianapolis too often, he said. He understands the agony parents feel when their child's life is in peril.
"We're the ones who have to tell the parents how these kids die," Profeta said.
Click here to listen to a podcast about alcohol use on college campuses.