Not so long ago, it seemed unthinkable. But now that twofraternities are taking the temperance pledge nationwide, studentleaders at North Carolina universities are resignedly acceptingtheir fate.
Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Nu announced the new policy thisweek.It is supposed to take effect by 2000. Phi Delta Theta, based inOxford, Ohio, has 180 chapters and 7,500 members, while Sigma Nu,based in Lexington, Va., has 210 chapters and 9,000 members.
``I definitely see it as a risk-management movement to avoidputting brothers in situations where they might be injured,'' saidReece Jones, 21, president of the Sigma Nu chapter at theUniversity of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Phillip Martin, president of Phi Delta Theta at North Carolina StateUniversity, says the move will take fraternities back to basics.
Phi Delta Theta member Jon Routh says fraternities are about more thandrinking and that this new move will help dissolve the public image offrathernity life being like the film "Animal House"
Five studentsdied last May in a Chapel Hill fraternityhouse fire after an all-night drinking party. That and other episodesrelated to partying compelled the fraternities to adopt theno-booze rule.
Jones said his fraternity brothers will abide by the decisionbynational leaders even if they don't like it, but said one possibleresult could be that upperclassmen decide not to live in fraternityhouses.
```The only concern I could see being raised is over whathappens when brothers in the house are of legal age to drink,''Jones said. ``Probably if they're 21, they wouldn't want to livethere.''
``Personally, I believe that that is a pretty good idea becausethat keeps alcohol away from minors, which is a big problem now,''said Matt Rodd, treasurer at the Sigma Nu chapter atUNC-Greensboro.
Riddick Skinner, president of the Sigma Nu chapter at NorthCarolina State University, said not all members were enthusiasticabout the alcohol ban, but he is optimistic they will come around.
``Drinking is not the most important factor of fraternity life;it's just a factor,'' said Skinner, 19. He said people will bebetter off if curbs are placed on fraternity drinking.
Sue Wasiolek, Duke's assistant vice president for studentaffars, said the ban at Duke will challenge all the fraternitychapters, not just Sigma Nu and Phi Delta Theta.
``A significant part of their purpose is their interest inproviding an active social life, and in many minds, that includesalcohol,'' she said.
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