I must admit, I’ve always been a bit puzzled by the “social policies” of Greek systems. I mean, if the law is black and white – you can drink if you are over 21 and you can’t if you’re not – why in the hell do Greek communities spend countless hours developing and enforcing policies on the topic? Sure, I think the law is bullshit (if I can go to war and vote at 18, I should be able to have a beer at 18), but as long as it is the law, what is the point of having additional rules around booze?
Well, finally, one Greek system is finally on board with my thinking. As of May 7th, the Panhellenic Association and Interfraternity Council at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will remove all references to “social policies” from their governing documents, and instead just require the members of the Greek community to follow the law.
Mitch Misfeldt, the UNL Interfraternity Council president, told The Daily Nebraskan] the reasoning behind the change was pretty simple. “What’s changing right now is we’re not going to regulate something that’s already illegal anymore. Social policies in the past have tried to regulate what alcohol an underage member could drink and what they couldn’t and then, in reality, it’s illegal anyways, so we have no place to be regulating that.”
According to Morgan Battes, the Panhellenic Association president, the purpose of the change is two-fold. First, to be more direct; she says, “Our new policy is to explicitly just follow all state and federal laws, the UNL student code of conduct and national risk management policies as it concerns underage drinking.”
The second (and probably a little less likely to actually happen) goal is to better address the issue of underage drinking in the system. “In the past, I think we’ve kind of skirted around the issue of what has been happening in our chapters with underage members and alcohol, and now we’re kind of hitting it head on and saying we can no longer kind of accept this for our chapters,” Battes said. The adoption of the new non-policy sets the expectation that chapters are not to “allow or assist underage members to break the law,” according to Misfeldt. As for what the penalties will be for chapters that provide alcohol to minors or minors who drink will be, that’s still up in the air; the university is working with Greek leadership to develop a “sanctioning rubric.”
One area the system is hoping the change will help with is sexual assault. According to the paper, a document provided to sorority presidents said that “All of the sexual assault cases investigated [within the Greek system, I assume] have involved underage members who were provided alcohol at a chapter event prior to the alleged assault.” The document also stated that “there have been no reported incidents at chapter-hosted events hosted by third-party vendors.”
Is the change actually going to have an impact? Who the hell knows. But it seems to make a lot more sense than trying to dictate and enforce policies that don’t make any sense to begin with. .
[via The Daily Nebraskan]
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