Sigma Nu Bans Alcohol

Zero Bottles of Beer – Editorial SF Chronicle

UC BERKELEY’S Sigma Nu fraternity deserves special commendation for
trying to buck a long but ignoble Greek society tradition in which
brothers regularly and proudly drink themselves under the table.

Under a new policy insisted upon by the group’s alumni board, the
fraternity will ban alcohol — as well as tobacco and illegal drugs — on
its property.

While the prohibitions against all three substances are welcome, it is
booze that is causing the most problems on campuses. And the very real
danger of heavy drinking among college kids is too often shrugged off
despite abundant evidence of the harm it does. Four billion cans of beer
consumed on college campuses each year tell their own story.

For years, college presidents across the nation have ranked alcohol
abuse as their greatest and most stubborn problem. Binge drinking —
downing at least five alcoholic drinks in one sitting — has been tried
by more than four in 10 college students, according to a recent Harvard
College study.

Among those in the Greek system, the numbers of bingers is
astronomical. Eighty-six percent of fraternity residents and 80 percent
of sorority sisters said in the survey they had been on a recent

Such binges can and do lead to disaster. They contribute to fatal car
accidents, homicides, suicides and drownings.

Heavy boozing is also frequently linked to date rapes and pranks that
start out as harmless fun but end up as deadly crimes. According to a
report published in the Journal of American College Health, one in every
four college student deaths is associated with alcohol. The effort to
prevent such dire consequences makes the Sigma Nu brothers’ action all
the more laudable. It should be a signal to other fraternities and
sororities to follow suit and limit, if not ban, a beverage that beguiles
the innocent with false promises.

It should be respectable — and even cool — to openly resist an
unhealthy culture that encourages drinking at its nauseating, obnoxious

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