Surbhi Bharadwaj

Despite a hard alcohol ban imposed on all fraternities associated with the North American Interfraternity Conference, several of Yale’s fraternities have continued to serve it at parties, the News has confirmed.

The NIC, which oversees 66 fraternities in North America, banned member organizations from serving drinks with an alcohol content of more than 15 percent by volume, unless catered by a third party vendor. This ban affects eight fraternities at Yale: Alpha Delta Phi, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Chi Psi, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Sigma Nu, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Zeta Psi.

But the News has confirmed that at least three of these organizations — including Sigma Nu, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Alpha Epsilon Pi — have served hard alcohol over the past month. Still, it remains unclear if these fraternities violated the NIC’s rule. Though the restriction went into effect for most fraternities earlier this fall, it is stated in the resolution on the NIC website that “any member fraternity that does not have a business meeting between Sept. 1, 2018, and Sept. 1, 2019, will be granted a one-year extension in adoption.” The alcohol served at parties in the three fraternities also may have been catered by a third party vendor.

“The hard alcohol ban is just one of many actions fraternities have taken over the years to address critical issues that impact the greater campus community and society as a whole,” said Todd Shelton, chief communication officer for the NIC. “Fraternities continue to lead in efforts to protect students by enforcing stricter health and safety guidelines than applied to non-fraternity students.”

Leadership from all eight fraternities did not respond to multiple requests for comment regarding their adherence to the new standard.

In interviews with 15 students, none of whom are members of any of the eight fraternities, all reported having no knowledge of the ban. Many joked that they did not think fraternities would comply with the standard and said hard liquor is a main reason why students attend fraternity parties.

One sophomore — who also requested anonymity because he is not over 21 — said Sigma Chi rush events he attended only served beer, which is permitted under the ban.

Another sophomore in Pauli Murray — who also spoke to the News on the condition of anonymity — told the news that Zeta Psi served only beer and wine.

In an interview with the News, a Yale junior, who also requested anonymity, said the ban would not negatively affect which parties she chooses to attend because she already avoids drinking alcohol at fraternities.

“I don’t usually drink at frats because I don’t know what the alcohol situation is going to be,” she said. “I just choose to pregame.”

According to Shelton, fraternities that are not members of the NIC do not have to abide by the ban. One such fraternity at Yale is LEO, which formally broke from the national Sigma Alpha Epsilon organization in August 2018.

SigEp’s national organization implemented an independent policy last year that prohibited all of their chapters, including the one at Yale, from having alcohol in their common spaces starting Aug. 1, 2018. In the press release announcing the ban, SigEp’s national representatives said they adopted the new policy in response to a 46 percent increase in liability insurance premiums since 2014. Nearly 50 SigEp chapters have closed in the past 10 years due to “risky behavior fueled by alcohol consumption,” the press release stated.

“At their core, fraternities are about brotherhood, personal development and providing a community of support. Alcohol abuse and its serious consequences endanger this very purpose,” NIC President Judson Horras said. “[The ban on hard alcohol] shows fraternities’ clear commitment and leadership to further their focus on the safety of members and all in our communities.”

The NIC was founded in 1909.


Audrey Steinkamp |