Risk Management 

Effective 1/8/07

Social life is an important part of the college experience and of fraternity life.  It is normal and healthy for students to gather to socialize, have fun, and temporarily leave behind their academic work.  Westminster College, Inter-Fraternity Council, and the National Fraternity Office policies that follow are not intended to prevent fun, but to ensure it is done in safe and legal ways.

Ensuring that fraternity social events remain safe involves the hard work and commitment of the fraternity membership and leadership.  Risk management is every chapter member's responsibility.  Keeping people safe means sometimes having to get in the way of their potentially dangerous or illegal behavior.  Playing the "bad guy" may not always be fun, but it will ensure that everyone stays safe and the fraternity chapter, national organization, and the College are in alignment with their espoused values.

Non-Event Regulations
While most National Office, IFC, and Westminster College risk management policies relate most directly to events or parties, it is important to note that all Student Handbook and other policies apply outside of events.  Underage drinking, illegal drug use, sexual misconduct, and other violation can easily occur when the event risk management safeguards are not in place.  It is never OK to look the other way when these things occur.

Event Definition
Policy - Any social gathering involving the potential presence of alcohol and more than a one-to-one ratio of non-chapter members to chapter members or 50 guests, whichever is higher, constitutes an event requiring registration and approval from the National Office and the College.

Why?

  • There needs to be some standard for what constitutes a "party".  A one-to-one ratio or 50 guests, while an arbitrary amount, is the number at which the event goes beyond a small impromptu gathering.

How?

  • If an event has not been registered and the number of guests starts to swell to the one-to-one ratio or 50 guests, fraternity members should move the festivities elsewhere.  This will typically mean an officer or other responsible member will need to send people home.

Event Registration
Policy - Events must be registered and approved by the Greek Advisor no later than two weeks prior to the event.  While the Greek Advisor may make exceptions to this, late applications will most often be denied approval.  National Offices may require earlier application.

Why?

  • "Last minute" planning is a recipe for disaster.  Two weeks gives the Greek Advisor enough time to review the application, provide feedback, and get a response from the chapter.
  • Two weeks is also necessary to hire security, arrange for IFC party monitors, hire a third-party vendor, and make other arrangements for an event.

How?

  • The appropriate form is available in the Greek Advisor's office or on ANGEL.
  • A semester-long planning calendar should help the chapter meet deadlines.  Deciding on Thursday to have a party on Saturday is not a good idea.

Guest Limits
Policy - No more than three guests per active member are allowed at an event.  Fire code limits should also be observed.

Why?

  • In order to maintain adequate control, event size must be limited.  Parties with hundreds of people will inevitably lead to breakdown of risk management procedures.

How?

  • The limit should be determined beforehand and included in the registration application.
  • Security working the party entrance should track the number of people admitted and turn people away when the capacity is reached.

Guest Lists
Policy - A guest list should be determined when the event is registered.  Guests may be broadly categorized (i.e. all Westminster students) provided that entrance to the event is contingent upon ID check and sign-in.  Access to the event should be controlled through one point by using fencing, locked doors, or other methods.  Note - national guidelines may require guest lists of specific names and not allow "sign-in".

Why?

  • Guest limits may be exceeded and risk management controls lost if unwanted guests are involved in an event.  Fraternity events are generally intended for students, not for those outside the College community.
  • Drawing a firm line between invitees and non-invitees will ensure consistency.

How?

  • Security working the event entrance must check IDs to ensure the person is on the list or a member of a listed group.
  • Proper lighting, writing utensils, etc. should be provided.

Security
Policy - All events held at fraternity houses must have outside professional security staff.  The security officers should assist in entrance control and policy enforcement.

Why?

  • Having security present is a good back-up to chapter members controlling entrance, alcohol, etc.
  • Security will be able handle any conflicts or other difficult situations that arise.

How?

  • As part of the event registration process, security will be arranged through the College security contractor.

Start/End Times
Policy - All events should have designated start and end times.  Total event time may not exceed five hours and end times may not be past 3:00am without special permission from the Greek Advisor.

Why?

  • First, for practical reasons - security has to be on duty and other controls up at defined times.
  • Second, for safety reasons - the longer an event with alcohol goes, the more likely inebriation will lead to violence, sexual assaults, and other problems.

How?

  • At the event's end time, the music should stop and guests should be asked to leave.
  • Second, for safety reasons - the longer an event with alcohol goes, the more likely inebriation will lead to violence, sexual assaults, and other problems.

Alcohol Provision
Policy - Alcohol may only be provided by a third-party vendor or through a "BYOB" system.  In either case, underage individuals must be identified and not served.  Likewise, obviously intoxicated individuals should not be served.  In a "BYOB" situation, all alcohol must be checked into a central and secure area.  Note - alcohol in chapter members' rooms should not be accessed during an event by anyone other than the chapter member.  All guests must get their alcohol through the check-in station.

Why?

  • This is the probably the most important part of making sure people stay safe - make sure the alcohol is controlled.

How?

  • The check-in area should be near the entrance, and carry-in alcohol should not be allowed past that point.
  • Chapter members must understand that they cannot store and distribute alcohol from their rooms.  It may even be wise to close off the residential areas of the house during an event.

Hard Liquor
Policy - Hard liquor and mixed drinks are prohibited.

Why?

  • Hard liquor is most often associated with high-risk drinking.
  • Hard liquor quickly becomes a "common source."

How?

  • Only allow beer, wine, and wine coolers to be checked-in.
  • Party monitors should be watchful for and confront anyone who has hard liquor bottles.
  • Strictly enforce this with members especially.

Drinking Games
Policy - Drinking games, including keg stands, beer bongs, ice blocks, and card games, are prohibited.

Why?

  • Drinking games are designed to cause high-risk drinking.

How?

  • Party monitors should be on the lookout for these activities.

Alcohol Alternatives
Policy - Non-alcoholic drinks and non-salty food should be ample and freely available.

Why?

  • Food helps prevent rapid intoxication and illness.  Non-alcoholic drinks encourage responsible behavior.

How?

  • Have a set-up somewhere visible.  Make sure a chapter member is responsible to keep it well stocked.

Sober Party Monitors
Policy - One Sober Party Monitor should be on-duty for every 20 guests in the maximum event size listed in the event registration.  The monitors are free to participate in the event, but should consume no alcohol before or during it.

Why?

  • Keeping people safe means that someone responsible and sober should be watching out for them.
  • A single individual watching more than 20 people would prove too difficult.
  • Note that some national policies require a 15-to-1 ratio.  Always follow the national policy if it is more strict than Westminster's policy.

How?

  • Set your event maximum carefully so as to not have too many or too few monitors.
  • Ensure that monitors are trained to watch for underage drinking, intoxicated individuals, inappropriate sexual conduct, or other dangerous situations.

Illegal Drugs
Policy - The possession or use of illegal drugs is strictly prohibited.  Chapters are expected to take affirmative steps to ensure they are not present at events.

Why?

  • Illegal drugs can quickly lead to any number of situations dangerous for individuals and the chapter.

How?

  • Make your expectations clear and known.  Get a reputation for being a house that doesn't tolerate drugs.
  • "Don't ask, don?t tell" doesn?t work.  If you see something, smell something, or hear something that suggests drug use, act on it immediately.

Sexual Misconduct
Policy - Behavior that is sexually abusive or intolerant is strictly prohibited.  This includes inappropriate comments, touching, or sexually aggressive behaviors.

Why?

  • Alcohol and sex are a bad combination that may lead to all sorts of things, including assault.  Inappropriate behavior must be stopped before it can get that far.

How?

  • Stop inebriated individuals from going to private rooms.
  • Confront "minor" problems to prevent major ones.
  • Ensure party monitors are patrolling private rooms.

Off-Campus Events
Policy - Unless otherwise specifically stated, all risk management policies apply at off-campus events including alcohol.  All chapter-organized off-campus events including alcohol must be registered, regardless of size.  Designated driving programs must be in place and strictly enforced.

Why?

  • Some may think that when you go off-campus, there are no rules.  In reality, there's little moral or legal difference when a chapter function is held off-campus instead of on-campus.

How?

  • It may be especially tough to follow the same policies off-campus, but it's even more important.