UI trying to stem greek alcohol citations

BY ERIC MOORE | OCTOBER 06, 2011 7:20 AM

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Fraternities and sororities may soon face consequences for alcohol-related citations and arrests.

University of Iowa Vice President for Student Life Tom Rocklin said he hopes to bring the proportion of alcohol-related arrests and citations among Greek-community members in line with the proportion for the rest of the student body.

If the new policy implemented, Rocklin said, chapters who do not meet this goal could face a loss of social privileges. Chapters that consistently fail to comply could be discontinued.

Rocklin said these new efforts are the result of discussions with the greek community the past few years.

"Many of the leaders of the community have embraced the goal and are eager to meet it now," Rocklin said. "We want to have a greek community that's safe and successful so in the unlikely event we had a chapter that couldn't achieve that kind of compliance, we'd have to discuss whether it belongs on our campus."

Rocklin said the sanctions would probably stem from the first semester, in which a chapter is considered "out of compliance" and social privileges would be removed if they remained this way for four semesters.

Kelly Jo Karnes, an associate director of the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, is also involved in the potential policy changes. She said the UI hopes to hold chapters accountable for their members, noting that the change will be difficult.

"It's hard to create a culture shift, and that's ultimately what we're trying to do — change the behavior of our members," she said. "It may take a few chapters receiving a few sanctions to realize, 'OK, we gotta make some changes.' "

Karnes said the university wants to work with the chapters noting, "no one wants to see chapters move away."

"We want a strong community, but we also want a strong community that's not known for being twice as likely to be arrested and cited," she said.

Rocklin submitted his plan to the Interfraternity Council last week. The council, led by Austin Popham, is working on a proposal including the members' suggestions and recommendations for the plan to be presented to Rocklin next week.

Popham said officials assembled an action committee a few years ago but didn't implement its goals very well. Now, part of the new plan will include providing more nonalcoholic greek events at the Field House, Campus Recreation & Wellness Center, and the IMU.

"It's not really a matter of educating people," Popham said. "It's a matter of getting them away from those high-risk situations."

He also said the greek community is "on board for lowering the rates."

"It's not the greek community against Rocklin," Popham said. "We want this for our members just as much as he does."

Popham said he estimated some plans would be implemented by next semester and said "probably this time next year, the rates will be significantly lower."

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