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Committee discusses new IFC keg ban

Members of the alcohol policy committee discussed the implications of the Interfraternity Council's new distribution rules Thursday.

The new IFC policy prohibits kegs at open parties beginning next fall. Instead, fraternities will follow a bring-your-own-beverage policy or use a licensed cash bar.

Though most praised IFC members for their efforts to foster a safer social climate on campus, administrators expressed concern that the policy does not address several key issues.

The committee did not vote on whether to alter the University's alcohol policy to allow IFC's bring-your-own-beverage policy to take effect. IFC's policy states that the keg ban will not go into effect until the University revises its common-container policy to allow distribution from a common refrigerator.

However, Maureen Cullins, assistant vice president for campus community development and chair of the committee, said the committee should consider changing the University's policy at its final meeting of this semester scheduled for next Thursday.

Fraternities also want to be able to hold BYOB parties and closed keg parties six days of the week, said Trinity junior Mike Bown, IFC president.

Allowing parties every night but Sunday would ease some of the binge drinking that occurs on weekends, said Trinity sophomore Brian Thompson.

"Back when there were kegs seven days a week, people didn't feel like they had to go out and get [drunk]," Thompson said.

But administrators said that in the past, students frequently complained about the noise generated by fraternity parties. And by allowing potentially disruptive parties six nights a week, the administration could be sending mixed signals about the University's academic mission, they said.

For fraternities to be able to hold parties six nights a week, the University would have to revise its common-container policy to allow fraternities to store students' beers in a refrigerator or trash can.

Bown emphasized that the committee should make the changes quickly, to allow fraternities to implement IFC's new rules in August.

However, several administrators objected to changing the policy even on a trial basis because it would be politically unpopular to rescind it later.

"I think these are such big issues--I don't know if we have time this year to make decisions," said Linda Carl, coordinator of student health education. "I would like to suggest that we not act precipitously."

Carl also raised concerns that the policy may not reduce binge drinking on campus. According to a recent survey conducted by student health, 47 percent of Duke students binge drink.

"The idea that one could bring 12, 12-ounce cans would seem to me mitigating the responsibility you seem to be encouraging in other parts of the policy," she said. "I would hope that if [we] did adapt this policy thatÉone could hardly justify it as an opportunity to binge," she said. The policy allows each guest to bring up to 12 cans of beer to a party.

Trinity junior Wendy Marantz, president of the Panhellenic Council, emphasized that Panhel supports IFC's BYOB policy because it brings them in compliance with their national organizations.

But Marantz distributed a letter signed by 11 sorority presidents which stated that a campus-wide BYOB policy would emasculate the University's cohesive social community.

"It just makes me very nervous," Marantz said. "If you don't have a car and if you're not 21 and you're not a member of a greek organization, then you have no social outlets."

Despite the criticisms, administrators and students congratulated Bown for getting IFC to pass the proposal.

"When [Bown] said there was opposition, that was an understatement; that was a miracle," Thompson said.

At the end of the meeting, committee members embarked on a philosophical debate about the current role of alcohol in undergraduates' social life.

The committee's meeting next week will be its last under its current structure. The Office of Student Affairs and the Academic Council will expand the committee's charge to address broader issues regarding the campus social climate next semester.

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