UNT removes ban on alcohol

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Members of fraternities and sororities at the University of North Texas are once again allowed to consume alcohol at Panhellenic events if they are of legal age, after university officials decided to remove a ban on alcohol that had been in place since February. 

The ban was issued after a student suffered a serious injury in a fall at the Delta Sigma Phi house in January.

After the incident, a task force of students, alumni and advisers was formed to take a “serious look at the use of alcohol in our Greek culture,” said Kelley Reese, UNT spokeswoman. 

The task force submitted recommendations to Elizabeth With, vice president of student affairs, who accepted the recommendations and told the dean of students and the chairman of the task force that the recommendations would be implemented, Reese said. The ban was lifted Aug. 19. 

The recommendations mandate alcohol education regarding legal practices, increase severity of sanctions for violations and encourage bystander action if a student is in need of help. 

“The university is now beginning to implement those recommendations to increase understanding — in the culture in Greek life and among our student body as a whole — about respecting and understanding the legal use of alcohol,” Reese said. 

After the student injury that prompted the ban, UNT police launched an 11-day investigation and raised concerns about the availability of alcohol to minors. From the investigation, warrants were issued for seven people between ages 18 and 21 charging them with furnishing alcohol to a minor, a Class A misdemeanor. 

The ban was implemented with no time limit, but was scheduled to be lifted when the task force deemed it appropriate. 

Colby Garza, president of the Interfraternity Council, said he was glad the university is giving back some privileges. The rules governing alcohol consumption at Panhellenic events, on and off campus, will revert to how they were before the ban, he said.

For a chapter to hold a social event, it must submit an application to student affairs at least 15 business days before the event with detailed information about what will be served. The chapter assumes responsibility for the conduct of members and guests during the event.

Since the ban, Garza said he and the rest of the community have learned from the incident and are happy to be moving forward.

“Everyone is just glad we’re getting a second chance, and we want to prove to everyone that Greek life is here to stay at UNT, and it’s going to be more of a moral thing,” he said. 

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.

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