Brendan W. Clark ’21
Trinity College has recently enacted a new policy which prohibits the use of kegerators—commonly referred to as “kegs”—in the College’s fraternity and sorority houses. This directive comes in response to the Sept. 1 Alcohol and Drug Guidelines released by the North American Interfraternity Conference.
Those guidelines, specifically No. 4, state that “common sources of alcohol, including bulk quantities, which are not being served by a licensed and insured third party vendor, are prohibited.” Director of Campus Life Initiatives and Social Houses Kathryn Wojcik spoke with the Tripod, adding that “the decision to remove kegs from social events and move toward a BYOB or Third-Party Catering System came from the National Offices and fraternal insurance companies to reduce the liability of organizations serving alcohol.” From information found on the Conference’s website, however, the guidelines do not include explicit references to kegs.
Concerns over litigation and the use of kegs is not a new issue to fraternity and sorority life: in a June 12, 1991 article by Susan Dodge in the Chronicle of Higher Education, a “‘risk management’ policy that bans beer kegs from chapter houses” was approved by “thirty-four of the 62 national fraternities.” At the time of the Chronicle article, President of Fraternity Insurance Purchasing Group Durward W. Owen indicated that a “keg ban would lower the risk of alcohol-related accidents and make insurance companies more likely to extend coverage to Greek organizations.”
Similarly, an Oct. 29, 2016 New York Times article indicated that several schools, including the University of Michigan, had recently undertook “bans on kegs” in an effort to control “the connection between drinking and campus sexual assault.” The Times article further noted that administrative attempts to quell alcohol consumption have focused their efforts on the types of alcohol consumed.
Wojcik indicated that “the College is implementing these changes to be consistent with National and insurance guidelines.” All Trinity College fraternities are a part of the North American Interfraternity Conference. Wojcik added that “the first weekend of social events under these policies went well” and she affirmed that she is “committed to supporting the students through this policy change.”