COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri fraternities will not be able to have hard alcohol at social events this year and any violations will be immediately reported to the Office of Student Conduct as the result of a months-long discussion about how to reduce sexual violence on campus.
Shortly before the fall semester began, the university’s Interfraternity Council announced hard liquor would be banned at fraternity houses effective immediately. Hard booze is defined as a drink with more than 15 percent alcohol. The ban also includes grain alcohol. Beer and wine are still allowed at the fraternities, The Columbia Missourian reported.
The IFC said all violations will be passed to the school’s Office of Student Conduct for discipline. Fraternities also will be subject to random visits from a security company to ensure the rules are being followed.
The ban was enacted after months of research and debate at the IFC and a Chancellor’s Summit on Sexual Assault and Student Safety in Greek Life in June.
IFC spokesman Parker Briden said the ban is designed to create realistic rules, reduce overindulgence of alcohol and help combat sexual misconduct. He said fraternity presidents had a lot of input into the policies, so he believes they will be followed.
In summer, the Missouri Fraternity Alumni Consortium suggested several proposals to reduce sexual violence, including restricting women from fraternity houses from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. on certain days and specific weeks. Besides the alcohol ban, other suggestions were banning fraternities from hosting out-of-town formals and drug testing all in-house members of Greek organizations.
The suggestion to ban women drew quick and angry criticism, including from the Panhellenic Association, an umbrella group for sororities. The Fraternity Alumni Council quickly retracted the proposed curfew on women. So far, the other proposals have gained little traction.
“(The beer-only proposal) was the proposal people agreed with,” Briden said. “It was a reasonable step.”
Panhellenic Association spokeswoman Carolyn Welter said IFC executive leaders strongly supported banning hard liquor and she believes fraternities will enforce the policy.
Sexual assault has been a major topic at the university in recent years as it has around the country. In 2014, ESPN reported that former University of Missouri swimmer Sasha Menu Courey alleged she had been raped by several football players more than a year before her suicide.
The university drew sharp criticism for its handling of the matter. University police said they failed to identify a suspect and closed their investigation, citing “several obstacles” that included the lack of DNA and video evidence, uncooperative witnesses and the difficulty finding firsthand accounts.