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Cops: new frat alcohol policy may increase DUI's

By Ryan Gabrielson
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
November 24, 1999
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While some UA fraternity members are encouraged by the progress made by the Interfraternity Council after last week's passage of a measure that will force all GAMMA-related parties off campus, a UAPD spokesman said yesterday that the resolution could prompt an increase in DUI incidents.

Sgt. Michael Smith, University of Arizona Police Department spokesman, said the move of events involving the consumption of alcohol to locations other than chapter houses may increase the possibility of members driving under the influence.

"I'm afraid this could increase DUI-related infractions because not everyone will use shuttles," Smith said. "It makes our job different."

But some members said a national trend was a major reason behind the decision made by chapter presidents Nov. 16. The new rule is an effort to increase the awareness about alcohol abuse and to limit its consumption in chapter houses.

"The change was going to happen eventually, and I think that it's a responsible move," said Derick Kurdy, criminal justice senior and Kappa Alpha member.

The resolution's final passage was sparked when 11 University of Arizona sororities decided not to participate in events with fraternities that are not alcohol-free.

Homecoming parties are the only exemption from the new restrictions.

Many fraternity events - with the exception of date dashes and formal dances - traditionally have been held at chapter houses. This has limited the number of potential intoxicated drivers.

"One good thing about having parties on campus is that they are so close to the chapter houses and the dorms that you can walk there," said Jonathan McCoy, a business freshman and Beta Theta Pi member.

However, while some fraternity members have spoken out about a possible raise in the number of infractions, Sarah and Kurdy said they think it will not add an additional element of risk.

"We've been doing this for years, and it's never caused a real safety issue," Kurdy said.

Gabriel Sarah, IFC vice president for public relations, said he is unsure how costly having parties off campus will be.

"We're looking into housing the events and the effect that the price could have on them," Sarah said. "My chapter (Phi Kappa Tau) voted in a policy that resembles that of Residence Life before this resolution."

Phi Kappa Tau does not yet have a chapter house but hopes to purchase one by the beginning of Fall 2000.

Rob Meadows, former Kappa Sigma president and a computer engineering senior, said the resolution might have a negative impact on the smaller fraternities that do not have budgets the size of larger fraternities.

"With their relocation there is a distinct raise in cost of holding a GAMMA-sponsored event. It costs about $600 to have one in the houses, but to rent a place it can cost around $1,400," he said.

Meadows also questioned whether all fraternity members were in favor of the resolution.

"It's just a way for the UA (IFC) to avoid the issue and move the liability to an outside party," he said.

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