UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Officials agree on plan that could lift alcohol ban

– University of California, Berkeley, officials, working with student fraternity and sorority leaders, have reached agreement on a plan that could lead to a gradual lifting of the current ban on alcohol consumption in effect since spring, campus officials announced today (Tuesday, Aug. 23).

A key component of the agreement is holding the Greek community more accountable for self-regulation.

For example, fraternity and sorority representatives must patrol their events and look for and report to their organization leaders violations of campus policies on alcohol use and other party regulations. If this does not occur, the agreement states, Greek community leaders will impose strict sanctions including barring a chapter from holding social events.

If the self-regulation is effective and no significant violations of the alcohol ban occur between the start of Welcome Week, which began Monday, and Sept. 1, the end of Recruitment Week for the Greek community, campus officials will partially lift the ban. Chapters would then be allowed to serve alcohol to those over 21 at social events held away from campus and at registered on-site alumni activities such as football game-day events.

Campus administrators may allow consumption of alcohol at other Greek community events if additional agreement conditions are met.

"I am very pleased with this agreement," said Karen Kenney, dean of students. "Fraternity and sorority leaders worked with us on this issue throughout the summer and came up with a plan that involves close monitoring by Greek leaders, serious sanctions and educational components. It's a great start."

Campus administrators and fraternity and sorority members will continue to meet and discuss agreement details and progress on the plan.

UC Berkeley officials imposed the alcohol ban in early May, amid growing concerns about alcohol-related problems including fighting, hazing, and poorly managed parties. The moratorium bans alcohol at any on-site or off-site event sponsored by any campus fraternity or sorority, whether or not they have a chapter house.

Several Inter-fraternity Council and Panhellenic sorority leaders met with campus administrators over the summer to craft the agreement. Campus leaders expect all fraternities and sororities to follow the agreement terms and will work with Greek community members that are outside of the Inter-fraternity Council and Panhellenic organizations and discuss the plan.

The terms of the agreement are designed to provide an opportunity for campus administrators and Greek community leaders to evaluate the effectiveness of the groups' self-regulation efforts.

A gradual lifting of the ban could begin with an OK for the hosting of football game-day alumni events starting Sept. 3 and the go-ahead for off-site social events starting Sept. 8. By these dates, representatives from each chapter would have gone through event planning training.

If campus officials believe policies are being followed, they may continue the gradual lifting of the ban. The next step, which would come as early as Oct. 7, would allow fraternities to serve alcohol at small group events.

If all continues to go well the campus may choose as early as Oct. 21 to lift the ban entirely and allow fraternities and sororities to serve alcohol at larger events as well.

The gradual lifting of the ban is contingent upon not only compliance with campus policies but the fraternity and sorority groups following through on all aspects of the agreement. Campus officials may at any time choose to retain or re-establish the full ban if they believe policies are not being followed or that the self-regulation aspect of the plan is not working.

The agreement also states the following:

  • The IFC and Panhellenic leaders will impose sanctions against chapters that do not follow campus policies and adhere to the agreement. Sanction will include, at minimum, barring the chapter from holding events for one school year; a $3,000 fine; 100 hours of community service and participation in an educational seminar. Chapters with a history of problems or those involved with particularly egregious violations may face additional sanctions.

  • Any student member of a Panhellenic-affiliated sorority who participates in a fraternity event where alcohol is consumed in violation of the rules, will face a fine against her chapter that mirrors the sanctions fraternities face.

  • Greek community leaders will follow a new policy in which events held with alumni must be registered with the IFC and Panhellenic governing councils and an alumnus must sign the registration form.

  • The group of fraternity and sorority members who will patrol events will be trained to identify and report actions that may lead to violations of campus policies. If a patrolling student fails to report violations, the student's entire chapter would be subject to sanctions imposed by the Greek community's judicial councils, which have the authority to impose fines, order community services work, or block a chapter from holding social events.

UC Berkeley has 70 fraternities and sororities with more than 2,500 members. Under a current and longstanding policy, hard liquor is banned. Beer and wine are permitted for students of legal drinking age, but are prohibited if served from kegs or other bulk containers.

A task force of fraternity and sorority members, alumni, community members and campus administrators will continue to meet throughout the school year to recommend longer-term solutions to alcohol-related problems as well as issues such as hazing, law enforcement, student accountability and student relationships with neighbors and the university.