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Fraternities at Cornell, past and present.

January 23, 2020

New Greek Event Regulations Mandate BYOB, 15% Alcohol by Volume Maximum and ‘Good Standing’ for All Events

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The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life rolled out sweeping new regulations for Greek Life events on Wednesday evening, restricting events to four days per week, requiring catering services for all alcohol served and limiting co-sponsors on approved events. 

The new rules forbid chapters themselves from serving alcohol at mixers and events; all alcoholic drinks must be sold “per-drink” by a liquor-licensed caterer on-site, from a list provided by Cornell. If a caterer is not hired, of-age students are required to stick to a “be your own bartender” — a version of “bring your own beverage” or BYOB — policy for all events, including small ones. 

The new regulations also reduce these “small” events by a third, cutting them from 150 or fewer attendees to 99 or fewer. Every event must also contract an independent monitoring service, such as Cayuga’s Watchers. 

At the start of the academic year, at least 13 of the IFC fraternities had more than 70 members. 

Any event with 100 or more attendees — a “large” event, previously between 150-250 attendees — must hire Cornell-approved, third-party security.

The Student and Campus Life website details only two approved security firms, Westcott Events and Amric Associates. The Interfraternity Council website also lists Cayuga Security and Investigation, Inc. 

Last year, President Martha Pollack outlawed all hard liquor — above 30 percent alcohol by volume — from Greek chapter houses. Now, regulations halve that number, banning any alcoholic beverage above 15 percent ABV from all premises at any time. 

Both large and small events must now be registered well in advance: 15 days prior for “large” events and 10 days prior for “small” events. No event can now be held on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night. 

All events are now limited to four sponsors in total. 

To host, a chapter must also be in “good standing” — if there are any pending judicial matters against an organization at the time it registers, the request may be denied. This decision is at the discretion of Jenny Loeffelmann, who has been Assistant Vice President for Student and Campus Life since summer 2019, the policy states. 

The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life informed chapter presidents, risk managers and social chairs of the new policies by email on Wednesday, according to two chapter presidents. The guidelines were posted on the Student and Campus Life website on Wednesday night. 

The policy, laid down by the University and not subject to approval by the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Association or the Multicultural Greek & Fraternal Council, went into immediate effect on Tuesday.