UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Campus officials lift alcohol ban for most Greek organizations

– A University of California, Berkeley, ban on alcohol at fraternity and sorority events has been lifted for the vast majority of Greek organizations on campus, paving the way for alcohol consumption at all of their approved social events as early as Friday, Dec. 9.

The decision, announced today (Thursday, Dec. 1) by Susanna Castillo-Robson, interim dean of students, follows successful efforts by UC Berkeley leaders of the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and of the College Panhellenic Association, a sorority council, in completing the terms of a moratorium-lifting agreement made with campus leaders in August.

Under the agreement, UC Berkeley fraternity and sorority leaders were to follow prescribed steps to encourage responsible and safe alcohol consumption at social events and to take swift and serious action against defiant chapters. The agreement also called for campus officials to review the student leaders' self-regulatory efforts and to gauge when and if gradual lifting of the ban would take place.

Marcia Riley, the campus's director of student involvement and leadership programs, said the plan has worked well.

"A lot of effort and hard work have gone into this process, and the results have been worthwhile. These students have demonstrated that they can monitor their community and encourage behavior that will provide a safe environment for students - and in the end, that should be everyone's continual goal."

In following the terms of the agreement, student leaders have rewritten and strengthened the IFC and Panhellenic Greek Social Code, a document that dictates requirements for fraternities' and sororities' social events, including specific measures that must be taken to better manage parties and control alcohol consumption.

The UC Berkeley student leaders also have demonstrated their ability to self-regulate their Greek community by imposing serious sanctions on chapters that failed to follow their social code and recruitment policies, according to campus officials. In addition, UC Berkeley administrators note that the students have stepped up their peer monitoring program, sending IFC and Panhellenic leaders to chapter-sponsored social events to determine whether policies were being followed. Riley believes that these patrols have led to a significant reduction in alcohol-related problems at the councils' chapter events.

The IFC and Panhellenic council at UC Berkeley represent 46 of the campus's approximately 70 fraternities and sororities and about 2,000 of the campus's 2,500 students who are affiliated with a Greek chapter here.

The approximately 20 fraternities and sororities that are not affiliated with the councils - but recognized by campus officials as Greek organizations - remain under the ban until they, too, work with campus administrators to adopt procedures that promote safe social events, said Riley.

UC Berkeley officials first imposed the ban on serving alcohol at all fraternity and sorority events in early May. The ban was prompted by growing concerns among campus administrators about alcohol-related problems including fighting, hazing and poorly managed parties.

IFC and Panhellenic student leaders worked over the summer with campus administrators to reach a moratorium agreement. The gradual lifting of the ban for IFC and Panhellenic chapters began early this semester when officials allowed alcohol at football game-day alumni events on campus and at off-campus events held by fraternities and sororities.

The roll-back continued in late October when officials allowed alcohol at on-campus events of generally no more than 150 people.

The final phase of the lifting of the ban for IFC and Panhellenic chapters in good standing takes place today - allowing groups to begin registering for on-campus events of up to 200 people. However, because events must be registered with and reviewed by council executives a week in advance of the event, the soonest date that large events could occur would be Friday, Dec. 9.

Under a current and long-standing campus policy, hard liquor is banned at all Greek-sponsored events. Beer and wine are permitted for students of legal drinking age, but are prohibited if served from keg or other bulk containers. In addition, all events must be registered with council executives and specific protocols must be followed on party management and the serving of alcohol.

A task force of fraternity and sorority members, alumni, community members and campus administrators continues to meet to recommend longer-term solutions to alcohol-related problems as well as to address issues such as law enforcement, student accountability and students' relationships with neighbors.