IFC alcohol policy’s priority is safety

Nate Ulrich

Research has revealed the Delta Upsilon fraternity house, the site where a man was run over by a tow truck on Oct. 29, was not registered to have parties Halloween weekend.

Any time a fraternity house has a party, it is required to register with Kent State’s Interfraternity Council four business days prior to the event. Five fraternities registered for parties during Halloween weekend, but Delta Upsilon was not one of them, said Coleman Caster, IFC’s judicial vice president.

It is not clear if Delta Upsilon was hosting a party at its house during Kent State’s unofficial Halloween weekend. A witness told the Daily Kent Stater that there were 10 to 15 people in the fraternity house when the police surrounded the house to question its occupants after the incident. The Record-Courier reported that Kent police were denied entry when they attempted to question the people inside the house.

Nicholas D. Zajac, a Delta Upsilon member, is out on bond after being charged with felonious assault for his involvement in an Oct. 29 incident that left a man in critical condition. Witnesses said Dana Lim, 25, of Parma was pushed into a moving tow truck and run over by the truck’s back tires in front of the Delta Upsilon house at 202 S. Lincoln St. after a fight broke out.

The Fraternal Information and Programming Group’s risk management policy applies to all of Kent State’s fraternity members because it was made part of the Interfraternity Council’s constitution about five years ago, said Beth Gittons, assistant director for fraternity and sorority affairs in the Center for Student Involvement.

“For any fraternity or sorority, the risk management policy’s number one goal is to keep their members, their guests and random strangers safe,” Gittons said.

The registration form requires the fraternity to explain how it will enforce FIPG’s risk management policy by checking guests at the door to prohibit underage drinking, limiting the alcohol consumption of those who are legally allowed to drink and establishing a plan to make sure guests arrive home safely.

The policy also states that the consumption of alcohol must comply with “bring your own beverage” guidelines, which limit each guest to six beer tickets that he or she can exchange for six beers, Gittons said. Kegs and drinking games are also prohibited by the policy.

Caster said two IFC board members go out almost every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night to make sure the risk management policy is being followed.

“We have party monitors go around every night,” said Caster, a member of Sigma Nu. “We have two people, that are not from the same chapter, who talk to the chapters that are partying that night and make sure they are following the rules on the paper that they filled out.”

Brian Strebler, who served as IFC’s president for the past year, said there were no major violations of the risk management policy during the past year.

“We have not sent anyone to judicial board in the last year,” Strebler said. “As an IFC party monitor, I have been out there and there have been what I would call minor infractions. I would consider it a major infraction if they have a keg in their house.”

Strebler said one fraternity was caught partying last spring without submitting a registration form. The party was shut down and no one has been caught since, he said. Strebler, however, said he did hear that some fraternities were failing to file registration forms this fall.

“I had heard that there were fraternities doing that,” he said. “I announced that when we go on party monitoring, we just don’t check the houses that have the registrations. We walk around to all the houses and make sure they’re not having a party if they don’t have a registration submitted.”

So are the rules of FIPG’s risk management policy realistic, and if they’re followed are people safer?

“If you’re trying to recreate Animal House and have life imitate art, then no, I suppose they’re not realistic,” Gittons said. “If you want an experience that is out of control, off the chain, completely insane and quite frankly dangerous, then no, I guess they’re not realistic. But if you’re a mature young adult who has a sense of responsibility … then I think they’re very realistic.

“This isn’t here to keep them from having fun. It’s here to make sure that they can continue to have fun because they’re not on probation and not in jail or dead. It’s designed to keep people safe, so that we can continue to enjoy the fact that we are social beings and social organizations.”

Kent police said the Delta Upsilon incident is still under investigation and more arrests are likely.

According to Portage County court records, Zajac, 20, was released on Nov. 21, after four days in Portage County jail when his mother, Laura Zajac, paid a $50,000 bond. The pre-trial is scheduled to go before Judge John Enlow on Jan. 12, 2007, in Portage County Common Pleas Court.

Delta Upsilon president Robert Lewis could not be reached for comment.

Contact public affairs reporter Nate Ulrich at [email protected].