Rules on social events with alcohol change for sororities and fraternities


Beardshear Hall in September 2016.

The Iowa State University Office of Sorority and Fraternity Engagement has updated their procedures for registration and requirements for sorority and fraternity events involving alcohol. They will apply to all sorority and fraternity events, both on and off-campus, effective immediately.

The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Engagement has been working with the Office of Student Conduct and University Legal Services to develop these procedures and expectations over the last nine months, according to an email from Office of Sorority and Fraternity Engagement director Billy Boulden, dated Jan. 9, 2018.

“Our hope is that these revised procedures will create a safer environment for chapters, members, and guests,” Boulden said in the email. 

The procedures listed cover five areas:

  1. Definition of an Event Involving Alcohol
  2. Requirements for Conducting Events Involving Alcohol
  3. Mandatory Event Registration Procedures
  4. Violations of these Procedures
  5. Contacts and Resources

The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Engagement defines an event involving alcohol as any social event, program or activity that involves the use (i.e., possessing, consuming, manufacturing, selling and/or distributing) of alcohol.

According to the procedures, there are 19 requirements for conducting events involving alcohol and 17 procedures for registering events listed in the document, the first being that alcohol should not be the focus of any sorority or fraternity event, and events must have another source of entertainment. 

Chapters are also not permitted to use organization, chapter or club funds to purchase alcoholic beverages. This requirement also applies to slush funds (e.g., passing the hat, money pools, one person buying alcohol for others.)

The procedures also state that sororities and fraternities are now prohibited from hosting “open parties,” meaning that students without a specific invitation from a sorority or fraternity member are not permitted to attend an event where alcohol is present. When registering an event, a preliminary guest list including full names and birth dates of expected guests is required.

Drinking games like beer pong, century club, dares or any other activity involving the consumption of alcohol which involves duress or encouragement related to the consumption of alcohol, are also prohibited.

All events involving alcohol must have at least one sober member for every fifteen people at the event. Every guest must provide a valid form of government issued ID that provides proof of age. People of the legal drinking age must wear an approved wristband from The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Engagement, and chapters must hire at least three security agents licensed with the Iowa Department of Public Safety to be present during all hours of the event.

The procedures listed also state that sororities and fraternities must satisfy and comply with all 19 of the requirements in order for an event involving alcohol to be approved and not violate University procedures and policies.

If a chapter fails to register an event, that chapter will be prohibited from hosting future events and will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Sororities and fraternities will be sanctioned if any violations of these procedures and requirements are committed.

Budgets for formal events are expected to increase in order to accommodate many of the new procedures and requirements.

According to The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Engagement, greek organizations must continue to abide by all applicable federal and state laws, local ordinances, university policies, Student Disciplinary Regulations and organizational requirements. Sororities and fraternities who do not host events with alcohol are still being encouraged by Boulden to go over the policy to understand the expectations.