The University of Missouri’s campus is a little safer today. No, not safer from that guy who was waving a gun around campus last week. He hasn’t been caught. Or from whoever fired that gun right next to campus the other day. He or she hasn’t been apprehended either. And no, Mizzou is not now safe from all of the people who have been assaulting and robbing students near campus and on campus with what at this point is basically impunity these last few months. They haven’t been caught either. BUT, you can’t have tequila at fraternity houses anymore, so we’re all good.
From The Missourian:
About a week before the fall semester started, MU’s Interfraternity Council announced it had updated its alcohol policy and that hard liquor would be forbidden at MU fraternity houses effective immediately. The hard booze ban was enacted after months of research and debate at the IFC and followed a presentation and discussion at the Chancellor’s Summit on Sexual Assault and Student Safety in Greek Life in June.
Per the IFC policy, hard alcohol is defined as a drink with an alcohol content greater than 15 percent. The policy bans hard liquor (example: vodka) and grain alcohol (example: Everclear).
Beer and wine? They’re still fine.
This past summer the Mizzou Fraternity Consortium (a committee of Mizzou fraternity alumni), at the university’s behest, proposed a list of policies they claimed were in the interest of sexual assault prevention and student safety. It was a list of proposed policies that were aimed to help keep students and women safe but were written mostly by old men without consulting students or, more hilariously, women. The policies, which included Greek-wide drug testing and not allowing women in fraternity houses after 10:00 pm on weekends, were also clearly conceived mostly to cover school and alumni asses, liability-wise. While some of the proposals were reasonable (one was even good!), others were absurd to the level that the consortium might not have put any more thought into them than, “Just shout out whatever, there are no bad ideas!” And these rules definitely would have been instituted to the fullest they could have been had students not caught wind and thrown a fit, most specifically Mizzou’s Panhellenic Association, who considered several of the policies insulting to women. After the public uproar the proposed policies were presented more as “suggestions” than impending rule changes. In the end none of them passed, except for one: no more hard alcohol in fraternity houses.
The hard alcohol ban was proposed by the consortium, but it was also considered by Mizzou’s IFC. Whether the consortium took the idea from an IFC proposal they were already aware of, or if the two were working in conjunction, is unclear (I’ve heard both stories from consortium and IFC members). Either way, it’s a rule at Mizzou now, and, as I wrote in my original consortium piece, actually not a terrible one.
I’ve been debating whether or not to write a column proposing a similar idea. My proposal wasn’t as drastic though; I was simply going to suggest that grain alcohol, a.k.a. Everclear, should no longer be used in fraternity drinks (known regionally as trash can punch, paint can punch, jungle juice, hunch punch, etc.). The reasoning for this is simple: Most people who drink at fraternity houses aren’t 21. Most are freshmen and sophomores, and 18 to 20-year-olds aren’t what you could call good or experienced drinkers. Most of these kids can’t handle alcohol anywhere near that strong, and especially not in great volume, so putting gasoline in their Kool-Aid is probably a terrible idea that needs to end.
But, at least as a matter of compromise, I could get on board with no liquor of any kind.
The rule, despite being somewhat of an overreach and quite literally a buzzkill, makes sense. The less drunk people are, the less of a chance there is that something unsafe will happen. People can still get drunk at fraternity houses. People can still slap the bag and shotgun to their heart’s content. Now it’s just far more likely everyone will be in that nice drunk zone where party goers are having fun and inhibitions are loosened, but everyone is still in control of themselves and aware of their surroundings. You know, the way you’re supposed to drink alcohol. Also, liquor is still allowed, I believe, at tailgates and any off campus fraternity parties. And it should be noted that this rule has been instituted for mass distribution at in-house parties. It isn’t going to stop most guys from keeping a bottle of whiskey in their room. It’s a compromise, which means it’s not all going to sound great, but it does strike me as fair.
One Mizzou fraternity member and executive officer emailed* about the new policy:
I’m on the Exec Board for [redacted], and the liquor rule actually has been put into effect and works. All the fraternities are generally abiding by it (ran into the [redacted] @ CoMo Liquors before a party syllabus week and they only bought 6 handles and a copious amount of wine) and I’ve noticed our parties are way more fun since people aren’t blacked as much.
And hey, maybe now that the school has made fraternity houses safer they can finally start focusing on the still present and seemingly unaddressed sexual assault problem in the dorms, or all the aforementioned incidents of their students becoming victims of physical violence and being threatened with, and assaulted by, deadly weapons on or within the vicinity of campus. Though, because robberies and assaults don’t make national headlines, I have a feeling the only way anyone is getting busted brandishing a handgun on Rollins is if they also have an open can of Natty in their other hand. Priorities..
*This post has been updated to include the Mizzou fraternity member’s email, which was received after initial publication.