Rush hour

The Inter-Fraternity Council was right to crack down on alcohol-related incidents occurring during rush events

The University of Virginia may currently reign as Playboy’s number-one party school, but perhaps we have taken our title too seriously. An overwhelming amount of alcohol-related incidents last week led to numerous hospitalizations. In light of these incidents the Inter-Fraternity Council has put restrictions on alcohol distribution and has banned “hard liquor.”

Last week more than 10 students were hospitalized for alcohol-related reasons. At least one had a blood alcohol content of .45 — nearly six times the legal limit.

Because of these hospitalizations the IFC stepped in to ban all hard liquor from fraternity houses and fraternity rush events. Another IFC-imposed change is that at least six sober brothers are required at all events to make sure nothing gets out of hand. Also, Boys’ Bid Day parties will now end at 2 a.m., which is a huge change from last year. Finally, the IFC made it clear that if these rules are violated, fraternity rush is over.

Because of the recent hospitalizations of University students these safety measures taken by the IFC and the Inter-Sorority Council seem necessary. But they do not ensure safety. By banning hard liquor intoxication levels will presumably be lower and the risk of hospitalization will decrease. But banning hard liquor may have unintentional adverse effects, such as intense pre-gaming by students who want their buzz to last throughout the night. Knowing that there will be no hard liquor at the parties, people might drink a lot of hard liquor in a short amount of time to get drunk beforehand. This extreme consumption of hard liquor is what the IFC is trying to avoid with the ban, but they may inadvertently be creating an even worse problem.

To combat the potential pre-gaming problem, the ISC sent out an email Jan. 25 asking sorority members to not bring hard liquor to fraternity parties and rush events and also to not show up already drunk to fraternity events. The ISC also held a two-hour drug and alcohol lecture for all new members Sunday morning to help the IFC in its goal to make the rush process safer.

Some speculate that if more alcohol-related incidents occur, the Greek system may ban alcohol from its events altogether: a threat apparently made by University deans. That is why it is important that the ISC and the IFC work together to prevent unsafe behavior and to save rush. It is also important that students cooperate with the IFC’s new regulations and do not violate them. Although problems have arisen during the past week, Greek life controls much of the University’s social scene, and with the Greek system comes a control over the partying that the University would not have otherwise. There is the safety of the houses, the rules of the fraternities and the ability to monitor the partying instead of having students roaming drunk publicly and putting themselves in potentially dangerous situations.

Though those dangerous situations still arise, and have arisen in the past week, the presence of a University-monitored Greek system helps diminish such risky behavior.

The IFC’s ban of hard liquor is a step in the right direction and hopefully will not lead to increased pre-gaming by students. If students participating in rush events comply with these rules and if there are no violations, then rush can continue and the Greek system, an integral part of the University community, can remain in its current form.

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