FSL Work Group Update
The University of Iowa Fraternity & Sorority Life has put together a harm reduction group. The goals of the group are to address revising judicial processes and implement new guidelines for events with and without alcohol.
Fraternities and Sororities at the University of Iowa are self-governing organizations that are responsible for following policies and procedures outlined by three major entities: their own inter/national organization, their respective governing council, and the University of Iowa. To provide transparency related to the current status of each of our organizations, there is an accountability action document below that can provide details relevant to any accountability process utilized from one of the entities listed above. For more information on council policies, visit our resources page; for more information on the University of Iowa's policies, visit the Dean of Students website.
Alcohol and Arrest & Citation Policy
Alcohol at any chapter-sponsored event requires the use of a licensed third party vendor present to serve alcohol, provide security, and verify legal age. All sorority houses at Iowa are strictly alcohol-free. Alcohol consumption within fraternity houses is prohibited by students under 21 years of age. Persons of legal age in a fraternity house may be permitted to bring alcoholic beverages into their private bedrooms only and only those of age are allowed to consume alcohol.
We have agreed that our organizations can host events at establishments that are in alignment with the Iowa City ordinance as it relates to tickets and citations. The link to these reports can be found here: https://www8.iowa-city.org/weblink/Browse.aspx?dbid=0&startid=1481412&row=1&cr=1
Hazing is defined as any I ntentional or unintentional reckless action or situation — with or without consent — that endangers a student or creates risk of injury, mental or physical discomfort, harassment, embarrassment, and/or ridicule — whether on campus or off campus — for the purpose of initiation into, affiliation with, or as continued membership in an student organization or team recognized by the University of Iowa Student Government or by any other University sponsor.
Acts of hazing include, but are not limited to: compulsory alcohol or drug consumption; physical brutality; psychological cruelty; public humiliation; morally degrading activities; forced confinement; creation of excessive fatigue; required removal or destruction of public or private property; or any other activity that endangers the physical, mental, psychological, or academic well being and/or safety of an individual. Any requirement imposed upon prospective, new, or current members which is not related to the organization’s purpose is discouraged and will become the subject of a University investigation once the practice is brought to the attention of the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership.
Social Responsibility Week
Each fall at the end of September, Greeks at Iowa celebrate Social Responsibility Week. During this week, fraternity and sorority members come together to attend programs and events that focus on education and prevention on a variety of risk-related topics.
Is the moratorium over? The moratorium remains in effect. Even those chapters that are allowed to have one date party or one formal as a part of the pilot process must remain in compliance with the moratorium outside of that one exception.
When will the moratorium be over? The lifting of the moratorium will depend on an overall assessment of the community’s readiness to abide by policies and productively engage in culture change. Vice President Shivers will determine the next steps based on the Work Group’s recommendations and consultation with various stakeholders.
Why are you implementing the pilot now? We want to roll out the revised policy in a reasonable time frame that allows for a collaborative process. Implementing the pilot will allow us to evaluate the policy and provide direction for future improvements.
How many chapters are eligible to participate in the pilot? There are 23 chapters eligible out of 36 IFC/PHC chapters.
What policies determine if a group is compliant to participate in the pilot? If a group has not violated any policies in the University of Iowa Code of Student Life, IFC/PHC, the moratorium, or their national chapters they are eligible to participate in the pilot.
Can we hold our formal/date party in a downtown bar? No, not at this time. Venues such as hotels, the Celebration Barn, etc. are currently permitted venues.
What if we couldn’t have an event in the fall but we are in compliance? Compliant chapters may propose an event for spring semester.
If our formal goes well can we keep having them? At this time, the pilot is for a single event. We will re-evaluate at a later date.
Why can’t we have the type of alcohol we want? There is abundant research that hard alcohol and multi-shot mixed drinks are higher risk for alcohol harm. Nationally, many chapters already ban hard liquor and the National Inter-Fraternity Council has recommended removal of hard alcohol from the fraternity experience. We want the UI FSL community to be a national leader in harm reduction and safety, and be on the leading edge of this coming change.
Why are you telling us how much we can drink? The National Inter-Fraternity Council guidelines are set at a maximum of 6 drinks per person, per event. Our proposal sets the limit below their guideline. Based on feedback from the pilot, we may adjust this or any other guideline regarding formals and date parties.
How is alcohol going to be distributed? You must have a cash bar with a TIPS-trained bartender. Each legal-aged participant will have a wristband with 5 removable tabs that may be used to purchase a maximum of 5 drinks over a period of 3 hours. The wristbands will be distributed based on the guest list, cross checked with picture ID. Each time you want to purchase an alcoholic beverage, the bartender will remove one of your tabs. When you have no more tabs, you receive no more drinks. The bartender will decline to serve you if they believe you are over-intoxicated, even if you still have remaining wristband tabs.
What will keep me from using other people’s tabs? The bartender will remove the tabs so you can’t use a “loose tab” from another person’s wristband.
How will the university know if we abide by the new policies? UI Public Safety security officers will be conducting unannounced compliance checks at events. They will have a checklist to assess compliance with all the conditions listed in the policy. If they witness an immediate or potential safety risk, they will intervene. They will also provide verbal warnings for non-compliance such as an underage individual who is consuming alcohol or a person who appears to be intoxicated being allowed to enter the event.
What happens if the security officer walks through and we aren’t in compliance? The security officers will note areas of compliance and non-compliance on the event checklist. They may issue verbal warnings to participants, and we expect chapter members to abide by those warnings and make appropriate changes.
Will the security officer issue tickets? Our arrangement with UI Public Safety is for a security officer to conduct unannounced compliance checks. The officer will have a compliance checklist to complete and return to us. If the officer observes anything that is an immediate safety risk, they will address it. The officer may provide verbal warnings regarding non-compliant activity. We expect chapter members to abide by those warnings.
What is the role of the event monitor? Event monitors and chapter leadership members will be stationed at the event entrance and exits, bathrooms, and within the general event. Their role is to monitor compliance and safety by watching for individuals who appear intoxicated, collaborating with the UI Public Safety Security Officers to ensure compliance with event regulations, and intervening if an issue arises. Event monitors will not consume alcohol for the entirety of the event.
Do we have to complete the follow up survey? Yes. You must complete the follow-up survey as condition of participation in the pilot. Failure to complete the survey within one week will be considered non-compliance. We hope that chapter leaders will provide helpful and candid feedback about the new policies and how they worked in the pilot. This is how we will improve the policies, and hopefully, the overall safety culture.
Is this only for formals and date parties or can we have a social instead? Only formals or date parties are allowed. Although the draft policy states that a maximum of one date party and one formal would be allowed per semester, because this is only a pilot, chapters may have only one date party or one formal, not both. Because most socials occur in downtown bars, we are in the process of ensuring that the policies will be and can be enacted effectively in that setting. We will provide an update when we have one.
What is the process for telling us the next steps? The Work Group will provide monthly updates on our progress this semester.
Is there anything else we can do? The Work Group welcomes your feedback on productive ways to create a culture of integrity, safety, and compliance around alcohol harm reduction. We hope that those chapters who have been leaders in complying with the moratorium will consider encouraging peers within the FSL community to do the same, for the health and safety of the community as a whole.