Chapman University’s fraternity social scene is steering far from the conventional “Animal House” experience.
This semester the Chapman Interfraternity Council enacted a rule, becoming prevalent nationwide, that all fraternity beverages include no more than 15 percent alcohol at any chapter held event.
But in the three months since then? Is there much enforcement? It depends on who you ask.
“I’ve forgotten about it,” said Chase Vombaur, a senior at Phil Delta Theta. “I don’t think parties have changed much. People still drink hard alcohol.”
But Kevin Bowers, a senior with Beta Theta Pi, believes the rule has made students more sensitive to the problems of too much party drinking.
“It’s upsetting that the university has to tell legal-aged drinkers how to act,” Bowers said. “But I understand the reasoning for it.”
The rule originally came from the National Interfraternity Council. The idea is to combat and change the standard of hazing and alcohol consumption among fraternity chapters nationwide said its spokesman, Todd Shelton.
“The hard alcohol ban is just one of many actions fraternities have taken over the years to address critical issues that impact the greater campus community and society as a whole,” Shelton said.
The only exception to the 15 percent rule is if the liquor is supplied by a third party, which might be a separate host at an official fraternity event. But most are just local parties.
The big problem nationally has been binge drinking and hazing. Critics point to the death of 19-year-old 19- year-old Timothy Piazza, who died by alcohol-related hazing at Pennsylvania State in 2017.
More than 1,800 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes each year claims Shelton. About 97,000 students annually report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
Chapman’s Interfraternity Council is responsible for taking these regulations by nationals and enforcing the policies day-to-day. The hope is that the 15% rule will curb student alcohol and binge drinking culture.
Chapman’s Dean of Students Jerry Price said he consistently “[sees] the darkside” of binge drinking from the student body. He followed with mentions of horror stories he has dealt with in the past including: injuries, hospital trips, and even arrest amongst students.
“I’m a big believer in the power of culture within organizations, and hope it’s a step in the right direction,” Price said.
Not that Chapman has ever had the drinking problems of some other schools.
“Chapman is for the most part responsible in terms of night life and binge drinking. Binge drinking definitely exists, but I don’t feel as though it is as much a part of Chapman’s culture as it would at a larger university,” said junior television writing and production major Meghan Clare.
Much of the drinking is at pregame parties, Clare said.
Chapman social issues counselor Dani Smith points out that shot drinking and pre-game events often leads to binge drinking.
When asked about the negative affects of binge drinking Smith replied, “Where do you want me to start?”
Going full circle, it appears the only way Chapman will know if the IFC 15% rule will bring change is by time itself.
Burke Dailey, the risk management officer for Beta Theta Pi, said he is glad to see the new rule in place: “I think it has succeeded in reduction the binge drinking culture at these parties.”
But senior Nico Davis of Phi Delta Theta points out that some things cannot be controlled: “If students really want more, they can buy alcohol on their own before heading to the party.”