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Release: June 24, 1999

UI’s Delta Upsilon fraternity goes alcohol-free

IOWA CITY, Iowa —The University of Iowa chapter of Delta Upsilon fraternity will enact a new policy this fall that prohibits alcohol consumption or possession on its chapter grounds by its members, including those who are of legal drinking age.

The policy, made without pressure from the chapter’s international fraternity or from the UI, makes Delta Upsilon the first UI Greek organization to make such a decision and is part of the fraternity’s three-year commitment to stay substance-free.

"By making the chapter dry we are showing a commitment to our pledges, our active members and our alumni that we want to be more of an academic success on campus," says Brian Kurz, president, UI Delta Upsilon chapter. "We believe a continued commitment to academics will help us recruit the type of guys who want more than the social experience we provide," Kurz says.

As a result of the action, the Delta Upsilon International Fraternity and the UI Delta Upsilon Alumni Chapter are awarding the campus chapter with $25,000 to be used to make house improvements, subsidize social programs, and possibly purchase new furniture and sports equipment. The chapter will also receive $7,500 from the aforementioned groups for educational purposes.

The UI Greek fraternity system self-imposed a no-alcohol policy in August 1998 after Phillip Jones, vice president and dean of student services, declared any fraternity not dry by fall 1999 would not be recognized by the UI. The UI policy, which takes effect Aug. 8, prohibits minors from possessing alcohol and prohibits alcohol in a chapter with the exception of legal-age members’ bedrooms.

Some Greek organizations’ national chapters voted to be substance-free by 2000 or 2001. Phi Delta Theta, Phi Gamma Delta, Alpha Kappa Lambda and Sigma Nu fraternities are among those affected by the change, says Mary Ellen Gillespie, assistant director of student life.

The difference with Delta Upsilon is that the fraternity did not decide nationally to move to alcohol-free, but the Iowa undergraduate chapter decided on its own, Gillespie says.

"It is extremely difficult to lead and create change, especially when peers and alcohol are involved," Gillespie says. "Delta Upsilon has the integrity and the leadership to be successful. I am very proud of them and their ability to model the way for others," Gillespie says.

The chapter will continue to engage in out- of-structure social events, as well as hosting non-alcoholic events on chapter property, Kurz says.

"The decision to go dry does not affect our status as a social fraternity. Rather, it puts our social gatherings in places where the risk would be lessened for all people concerned and allows us to show a chapter can survive without alcohol on the chapter grounds," Kurz says.