New alcohol rules working, students say
Frat parties this semester may be a lot less fun for some students.
GAMMA, short for Greeks Advocating the Mature Management of Alcohol, updated its rules last March and decided to take the organization's enforcement role to a new level.
"We want parties to be safe," said GAMMA co-chairwoman Tracy Berger, a retail and consumer marketing senior. "We don't want anybody to get hurt."
To make parties safer, GAMMA decided to limit the amount of alcohol consumed and require wristbands or stamps for of-age attendees. The group also decided to limit drinking time.
"We're trying to do preventative medicine on the situation," said GAMMA chairman Sunil Mudholkar, a management information systems junior.
Before GAMMA existed, 1,500-guest parties were common at the UA, said Cmdr. Brian Seastone of the University of Arizona Police Department.
"Graham Greenlee (Residence Hall) used to hold Oktober Fest and there would be 75-80 kegs," said Seastone, referring to the UA's former on-campus drinking policy.
The days of "Animal House" fun and open fraternity parties are gone, now that GAMMA makes the rules.
Wristbands & 'Beer cards'
The most noticeable GAMMA changes include beer cards and wristbands or stamps for guests over 21.
Fraternity party-goers are required to bring their own cans of beer - no more than a six-pack - and turn them over to a beer runner who takes it to the bar or beer bank.
The guest can receive up to two drinks at a time with the beer card and is limited to six a night. In the past, the cards allowed partiers to drink twice as much.
Party guests also now are required to show proper identification, including age and school affiliation, to get past security guards at the door.
Another change allows students to party an extra hour - until 2 a.m.- though no alcohol can be served or consumed after 1 a.m., as dictated by Arizona law.
GAMMA representatives visit parties twice a night to make sure students are following the rules.
GAMMA rules prohibit representatives from checking their own chapter's party.
The monitors adhere to a checklist that includes ample lighting to help bartenders see wristbands. They make sure a sign with taxi and escort service information is near the entryway and that non-alcoholic drinks and non-salty food are available.
The goal of the periodic checks is to protect students, Berger said.
"We're not out to get anybody," she said.
When a chapter gets a violation, GAMMA representatives check the party again. If problems exist after the second check, the chapter is referred to the Greek judicial board, which reviews the case and decides on an appropriate punishment.
Among their options: educational speakers, activity or alcohol probation or members may have to present their violation to other chapters. Appeals are then heard by the dean's office.
"I think everything is good for now, but it (GAMMA's rules) is still new," said Kristin Demare, a communication major who doubles as chief justice of the judicial board.
Berger said most violators correct the problem after an initial warning.
"I have never shut down a party," Berger said, adding the most common regulation broken is checking beer cards at the bar.
Students in the Greek system said the rules are effective.
"It's not worth getting busted for one party," said Pi Kappa Alpha President Danny Furtado, a finance and Japanese studies senior, who added that social probation is the most effective punishment for rulebreakers.
Chapter presidents are usually willing to comply with the GAMMA statutes because the entire house can be punished for a few members' actions, Furtado said.
Bob Gordon, coordinator for Greek life programs, said the UA is trying to prevent on-campus binge drinking, which has caused a number of deaths at universities across the nation.
"It didn't take an M.I.T. to revamp our policies," Gordon said, referring to the alcohol-related death of Scott Kreuger at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sept. 26, 1997.
Stephanie Corns can be reached via e-mail at Stephanie.Corns@wildcat.arizona.edu.