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By John Brown
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 21, 1997

Greek alcohol policy violates state law

Despite a Greek Life policy that allows the sale of alcohol on campus, fraternities that make guests pay for booze are violating state law and university policy, officials said yesterday.

Two fraternities were investigated by the University of Arizona Police Department this weekend after reports that they were charging guests for alcohol at parties, UAPD Sgt. Sal Celi said.

UAPD assisted the Tucson Police Department in breaking up a party at Theta Tau fraternity Friday night after officers discovered the house was charging $6 at the door and $2 per beer. A Theta Tau member was cited for selling alcohol without a license, Celi said. The member, Matthew G. Bayes, said the fraternity wasn't selling beer but had only been asking for donations, Celi said.

Saturday, UAPD went to the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house where a catering company had been hired to sell hard alcohol to parents for $2 a drink.

That case was forwarded to the Arizona Department of Liquor License and Control, Celi said.

According to a state liquor official, any time a party host charges an admission charge or asks for donations, it is equivalent to selling alcohol.

"Kids have tried everything (to get around the law)," said Michael O'Brien, an investigator with the Arizona Department of Liquor License and Control.

Arizona Board of Regents and University of Arizona policy does not allow alcohol to be sold at any on campus location or UA-owned property, said Assistant Dean of Students Veda Hunn.

Many university events get permission to distribute alcohol at their functions but the liquor must be given away- not sold, she said.

Hunn said the regents is the only governing body that can approve the selling of alcohol on campus, which it does under special circumstances.

One such case is the Arizona Cardinals' ability to sell alcohol at their home games in Sun Devil Stadium on the Arizona State University campus, said Lisa Wakefield, an administration assistant in the UA president's office.

Hunn said such exceptions are rare.

In the campus fraternity system, beer, at least, can be sold, said Julie Poore, coordinator for Greek Life.

According to the bylaws of Greeks Advocating Mature Management of Alcohol (GAMMA), beer can be furnished at a Greek-sponsored event if party-goers bring their own or if the chapter distributes alcohol using a cash bar.

The bylaws state a fraternity can use a bar if a "proper Special Events license has been acquired through the Arizona State Liquor Board."

GAMMA is a Greek Life-endorsed organization that monitors Greek alcohol-related social functions.

GAMMA policy prohibits fraternities and sororities from using chapter funds to purchase alcoholic beverages for social functions, Poore said.

When an organization chooses to use a cash bar, an outside vendor is hired to distribute the beer, she said. Since chapter funds can't buy the beer, a person must purchase each drink, she said.

"Basically a person can go to the bar and buy alcohol by the glass or beer," Poore said.

That policy violates university and Arizona State liquor laws, O'Brien said.

O'Brien said the Special Events licenses are for charitable organizations like the Muscular Dystrophy Association, when they hold an event.

O'Brien said he is not aware of any fraternity or sorority ever receiving a Special Events license.

"I really don't think that would be appropriate," O'Brien said, adding he believes a majority of the organization's members are underage.

Class 6 full bar licenses are only issued to a specific location and can be transferred to another location, but cannot be obtained by a catering service or an outside vendor, like the kind commonly used by Greek organizations, O'Brien said.

"Bottom line, anyone selling alcohol has to have a license with them," he said.

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