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Some UC Berkeley fraternity chapters see blanket moratorium lifted today on alcohol use at house social events
20 September 2002

By Janet Gilmore, Media Relations

Berkeley - A blanket moratorium on alcohol consumption at University of California, Berkeley, fraternity house social events began being lifted today (Friday, Sept. 20) under a new policy that encourages and rewards responsible behavior.

Approximately one-third of UC Berkeley's 35 fraternity houses no longer are subject to the moratorium because of their record of following regulations that promote responsible drinking and safe social events, campus officials and students leaders in the Greek system announced. However, chapters with numerous rules violations will have to spend the fall semester or the entire school year trying to earn back the privilege of having alcohol at their chapter social events.

There are no parties involving alcohol scheduled at UC Berkeley fraternity houses this weekend.

"I am especially proud of the initiative that the students demonstrated in developing this plan," said Karen Kenney, UC Berkeley's dean of students. "It is fair, and it addresses many of my earlier concerns about violations of health and safety rules."

Last April, Kenney enacted a moratorium on alcohol at any social event at a UC Berkeley fraternity house. That decision followed reports that an increasing number of fraternities were ignoring rules and regulations designed to ensure safe social events, and it followed reports that an increasing number of events involved alcohol-related fighting, underaged drinking or overcrowding. Kenney feared that without quick action, serious injury might occur.

A work group led by student leaders in the Greek system met this summer and came up with a proposal that strengthened tough alcohol use policies already on the books in the Greek system. The proposal also allowed for a gradual lifting of the ban based on how many rules violations individual chapters incurred in spring 2002. Chapters with no violations would have the ban lifted quickly. Those with a few violation points would have to draft an approved plan for avoiding such problems before the moratorium would be lifted. Other chapters with many more violation points would remain under the moratorium for the entire fall semester and - in the most extreme instances - for the entire school year.

Kenney approved the proposal earlier this month, and it was recently endorsed by a broad group of students within the Greek system. Student leaders finished tightening the language on policies and procedures this week, paving the way for the gradual lifting of the moratorium. Kenney retains the right to reinstate a full moratorium if many chapters are slow to take necessary action toward removing themselves from the ban.

There are 35 fraternity houses, with about 1,000 residents, affiliated with UC Berkeley. The 12 sorority houses near campus are substance-free homes, as dictated by national Panhellenic policy. Many other UC Berkeley-affiliated Greek system organizations do not have chapter houses and thus are not affected by the moratorium.

As always, hard liquor and kegs are prohibited at fraternity house social events, and fraternities must continue to hire professional security staff to check the identification of those who consume alcohol at their social events. They must also continue to follow rules that limit how much alcohol any individual may drink at a single social event.

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