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Should Frats Be Banned from College Campus?

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Should Fraternities Be Banned From College Campus

The frequency of binge drinking at fraternities and sororities leads to an "Animal House" style of living. (Dr. Henry Wechsler, Harvard University) Students celebrate the end of the week by flocking to local bars for $2 pitchers. They prepare for the big game by tailgating in the parking lots with coolers full of beer. Fraternities use keg parties to help recruit new pledges.

As college students return to campus for the new school year, events like these will be repeated throughout the country. If students aren't more careful experts say tragic events like the drinking binge that killed Louisiana State University student Benjamin Wynne and caused three others to be hospitalized could be repeated.

"Every college has its own horror stories, most not as deadly as the one at LSU," says Dr Henry Wechsler, a Harvard University professor and author of a 1995 study of binge drinking. "This is not a single occurrence. Something like this will happen again." According to Harvard studies show that 44% of students and 86% of fraternity residents are binge drinkers, drinking four to five drink in a row. Wechsler attributes this to both heavy drinkers being attracted to frats and the Greek system turning some students into binge drinkers.

So this leads to my question should frats be banned? The stereotype of college fraternities making merry fools of them may be amusing in the movies, but in real life it's no joke. Alcohol abuse is a major health problem on college campuses all across the nation. So it's encouraging that a few fraternities are taking a pledge of a different kind: They're going dry.

Beer is almost as synonymous with the fraternity system as Greek letters, and it won't be easy to change that culture. But a few fraternities, including Sigma Nu and Phi Delta Theta chapters at the University of Utah, are attempting to put their organizations on the wagon by the year 2000. The Greeks at Utah State University have been dry since 1995. Members aren't forbidden to drink alcohol, but such beverages eventually will be banned on fraternity property.

Such a policy is unthinkable to many members and alumni, but the reality of high insurance costs and vandalism to their property are just



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