Local News

Two Fraternities at Major State Universities...

Posted March 20, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Fraternity life without alcohol?

Not so long ago, it seemed unthinkable. But now that two fraternities are taking the temperance pledge nationwide, student leaders at North Carolina universities are resignedly accepting their fate.

Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Nu announced the new policy this week. It is supposed to take effect by 2000. Phi Delta Theta, based in Oxford, 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 avoid putting brothers in situations where they might be injured,'' said Reece Jones, 21, president of the Sigma Nu chapter at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Phillip Martin, president of Phi Delta Theta at North Carolina State University, says the move will take fraternities back to basics.

Phi Delta Theta member Jon Routh says fraternities are about more than drinking and that this new move will help dissolve the public image of frathernity life being like the film "Animal House"

Five students died last May in a Chapel Hill fraternity house fire after an all-night drinking party. That and other episodes related to partying compelled the fraternities to adopt the no-booze rule.

Jones said his fraternity brothers will abide by the decision by national leaders even if they don't like it, but said one possible result could be that upperclassmen decide not to live in fraternity houses.

```The only concern I could see being raised is over what happens when brothers in the house are of legal age to drink,'' Jones said. ``Probably if they're 21, they wouldn't want to live there.''

``Personally, I believe that that is a pretty good idea because that keeps alcohol away from minors, which is a big problem now,'' said Matt Rodd, treasurer at the Sigma Nu chapter at UNC-Greensboro.

Riddick Skinner, president of the Sigma Nu chapter at North Carolina State University, said not all members were enthusiastic about 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 be better off if curbs are placed on fraternity drinking.

Sue Wasiolek, Duke's assistant vice president for student affars, said the ban at Duke will challenge all the fraternity chapters, not just Sigma Nu and Phi Delta Theta.

``A significant part of their purpose is their interest in providing an active social life, and in many minds, that includes alcohol,'' she said.

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