UCLA fraternities that are members of the North-American Interfraternity Conference will be responsible for enforcing a ban on hard alcohol from their events and houses over the course of the next year.
According to the NIC ban, fraternities such as Alpha Epsilon Pi, Beta Theta Pi and Delta Lambda Phi will have until Sept. 1, 2019, to remove all drinks with an alcohol content over 15 percent, unless the drinks are served by a licensed third-party vendor.
As the NIC is not affiliated with the university, NIC-member fraternities at UCLA will be responsible for enforcing the ban within their chapter and ensuring that they continue to comply with the rules, said Ricardo Vazquez, UCLA spokesperson.
“UCLA’s IFC as well as all the other councils are registered student organizations that are independent of the university,” Vazquez said in a statement. “Over the next year, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life will partner with the IFC, (Latino Greek Council), (Multi-Interest Greek Council), and (National Pan-Hellenic Council) and their impacted member organizations to support the implementation of their forthcoming policies according to their individual chapter’s constitution, bylaws and policies.”
The majority of the members of the NIC, a national trade organization for 66 fraternities, voted in favor of the ban, which follows the highly publicized alcohol-related deaths of two students in NIC-member fraternities in 2017.
A Louisiana State University student died in a fraternity pledging-related event in September 2017, and a Pennsylvania State University student died after a night of hazing in February 2017. Both students died due to overconsumption of alcohol, according to The New York Times.
Noah Mayer, president of the UCLA Interfraternity Council, said that while the IFC is committed to student safety, it is up to fraternities that are members of the NIC to enforce the ban.
“With the NIC passing their new policy on hard alcohol, many of the fraternities here at UCLA will be affected by this change,” Mayer said in a statement. “Since it was the NIC and not the IFC that passed this policy, it will be up to the fraternities themselves to make and abide by these rules.”
Although the NIC can be seen as an overhead organization, it does not regulate IFCs. Since UCLA’s IFC does not pay dues to the NIC, it is not responsible for overseeing the ban, Mayer said.
Precious Whiteside, an alumna who graduated in the spring, said she thinks that 15 percent alcohol content is still too high, and that students will still find a way to drink.
“There’s countless numbers of underage guys and girls drinking and putting a ban on it isn’t really going to do much,” Whiteside said. “I know numerous kids here who have fake IDs, I know numerous kids who know older people who can pass down drinks to them, people who drink in their dorms or who drink in their cars and then go to the parties.”
She added that she does not think the ban will affect the general UCLA student body much, but will cause students involved with Greek life to be more conscientious of alcohol served at their events.
“Police know where the Greeks live, they know where the frat houses are, and I’m pretty sure they know the routine of who has a party when and who is in charge, so their parties may need to be monitored a bit more,” Whiteside said. ”Maybe they need to spread the word to not come with certain drinks, or don’t come expecting to drink.”
UCPD Lt. Kevin Kilgore said university police will only get involved when a law has been broken, however. UCPD will not enforce the alcohol ban since it is a policy created by the NIC and does not pertain to a legal violation.
“Administrative rules and regulations that are set by the university or another entity are monitored by that entity. UCPD only has the ability to enforce laws,” Kilgore said. “Should there be a violation of the law, then we have the ability to act upon that violation.”
Aishwarya Nataranjan, a third-year biology student, said she thinks the ban may be related to sexual violence that is linked to a culture of alcohol abuse.
“We have gotten into this culture where these sort of actions are blamed on alcohol, where in reality, alcohol is not the cause of a person’s actions, a person should be responsible for a person’s actions,” Nataranjan said.
Nataranjan added that she thinks the ban will not affect alcohol consumption much because drinking has always been a key component of fraternity life.
“I don’t know how much it will honestly affect drinking at fraternities because it is so ingrained in the culture,” Nataranjan said. “If frats want to drink, they’ll find a way.”
The NIC did not immediately respond for comment.