Emergency Room visits spark new regulations
10 University students admitted to ER, two critical after alcohol-related events; fraternities address drinking, partying
After more than 10 University students went to the Emergency Room last week with alcohol-related problems, the Inter-Fraternity and Inter-Sorority councils cracked down on drinking during IFC Recruitment. Two of the 10 students were in critical condition and on life support.
The ER visits began Tuesday night, the first night after ISC Formal Recruitment, during which first year girls in recruitment were forbidden to go out.
“Tuesday was the first day girls could drink — they haven’t drank in a month and they overdo it,” Sigma Chi President Brian Ohlhausen said. “Something needs to be changed, such as an increase in the amount of responsibility not only on first-year girls but those looking over first-year girls.”
The ISC declined to comment.
Such a high number of alcohol-related ER admissions is unusual following recruitment, outgoing IFC President Andy Colberg said.
“Usually from my experience, Bid Night unfortunately tends to be a high risk night,” Colberg said. “Then often the day after Girls’ Bid Day is a high risk night, but we haven’t seen a situation where people are going to the hospital like this before.”
Although the number of students admitted last week is high, the overall trends show a reduction in the severity of alcohol-related ER visits, said Susan Bruce, director of the Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.
“You can go to the emergency room but that’s not being admitted; they’re treated and released back home, so admissions to other departments are much more serious,” she said. “The percent of emergency room visits that are ultimately admitted to the hospital is going down, so to us that says that more students are going to the ER for alcoholic reasons but the severity is reduced.”
In the 2011-12 academic year, there were a total of nine University student admissions to the hospital because of alcohol-related problems, according to the Gordie Center. In the 2012-13 academic year to date, there have been three University student admissions to the hospital for alcohol-related reasons.
The IFC held three emergency meetings after the hospitalizations to consider the appropriate measures to take in response.
There will now be no hard liquor at any houses or events, including Bid Day. There must be six sober brothers or more at all events, Boys’ Bid Day parties will end at 2 a.m. and no pregames may begin before 9 p.m. Any reported violation will result in immediate suspension of rush events.
“I was pleasantly surprised at how unanimous it was — when we decided things, everyone was on board,” Kappa Alpha President Ollie Engebretson said.
The ISC decided to support the new IFC regulations by not bringing any alcohol into the fraternity houses or accepting liquor. They also agreed to require eight sober sisters on the main days of concern, such as Boys’ Bid Night.
Chapter responses to the new regulations have been mainly supportive. “It’s always scary to hear that that large of a number of people went to hospital on one night,” Delta Gamma President Alexandra Shaw. “Individual actions affect the greater community so everyone has to react in one way.”
The changes will be enforced by an IFC ‘party patrol’ sent to all registered parties to ensure they are beginning and ending at the designated times.
But there are still concerns that the new regulations may not be enough to combat the existing issues.
“There is a concern that there will be a spike in liquor based pre-gaming, which we tried to discourage because there is so much on the line for the houses,” said Anne-Marie Albracht, President of Delta Delta Delta.
The changes for IFC Recruitment will extend until after Boys’ Bid Night. After then, a meeting has been planned for all IFC/ISC presidents to come forward with potential changes for next year.