Alcohol ban prompts cancellation of some University of Iowa Greek events

Online campaign raises nearly $49,000

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IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa’s Greek chapters have canceled several upcoming events to comply with a new and immediate alcohol ban that UI-affiliated sororities and fraternities instituted Monday after a student died while attending a Sigma Chi formal.

UI’s Panhellenic and Interfraternity councils announced the moratorium on alcohol events and on all out-of-town formals in the wake of Kamil Jackowski’s death Sunday at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, where Sigma Chi was holding its formal.

Zach Rubenbauer, president of the UI Interfraternity Council, didn’t provide an exact number of canceled upcoming events but said they all were local. No upcoming out-of-town formals were nixed because no more were planned, he said.

But, according to Rubenbauer: “All planning for future out-of-town formals has been permanently canceled.”

In a statement Monday, council leadership said the alcohol and out-of-town formal moratoriums will continue until further notice — as leaders work with UI administrators to address specifics of the new policy and devise solutions to improve safety.

To that end, Greek and UI leaders are planning to convene a task force this fall charged with reviewing the alcohol culture in the fraternity and sorority community. Potential details of that group haven’t been made public.

The immediate bans serve as an acknowledgment “that we must address the pervasive and dangerous alcohol culture that exists within our community,” according to the Panhellenic and Interfraternity councils.

Before the prohibition, the two councils allowed alcohol at some events under strict guidelines. For example, they required a third-party vendor — a person or establishment with a state liquor license — to serve the alcohol, provide security, and verify legal age.

All social events at chapter properties and houses have been and will continue to be dry. Additionally, underage alcohol consumption is prohibited and lawful consumption is restricted to the private rooms of those of legal drinking age, according to the group’s constitutions and bylaws.

Rules also bar UI fraternities and sororities from buying alcohol with chapter funds.

To be considered a UI-affiliated fraternity or sorority, organizations must meet the same requirements as all UI student organizations and be in good standing with a governing council, according to Erin McHale, coordinator of fraternity and sorority life programs with the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership.

Looking forward, McHale said, the university views its role as guiding the councils “to devise the best possible practices are in place to prevent harmful behavior in our community.”

In a statement Monday responding to the councils’ bans, Vice President for Student Life Tom Rocklin vowed support and said, “My expectation is that you will maintain the moratorium on events involving alcohol until the task force has made substantial progress.”

Authorities have not confirmed a cause of death for Jackowski, 19, a first-year UI student from Arlington Heights, Ill. The Camden County Sheriff’s Office reported receiving a 911 call before 7 a.m. Sunday, and responders found Jackowski unresponsive in a hotel room at Camden on the Lake — a resort where the formal was being held.

He was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy performed Monday found no foul play, according to the sheriff’s office. Toxicology results could take between six to eight weeks.

Jackowski’s family members and friends have received an outpouring of support in the days that have followed. A gofundme.com page established to help cover his funeral expenses had raised nearly $49,000 by Tuesday afternoon — one day after it was launched.

The fundraising goal was $10,000.

“Kamil was a warm hearted and caring brother and son,” according to the page’s creator. “He was an extremely hard worker and always kept a smile on his face, cracking jokes, making faces, and making those around him smile. He was a brilliant kid that had such a bright future. Unfortunately, he was taken too soon.”

Friends this week also launched an online petition to retire Jackowski’s high school football jersey — No. 1. He played at John Hersey High School, and the petition reports “Kamil was one of the most impressive humans and athletes to ever walk Hersey’s halls.”

That petition had amassed more than 1,700 supporters by Tuesday afternoon. In the evening, friends planned a prayer service for Jackowski at the Newman Catholic Student Center. Nearly 300 people reported plans to attend on the social media event page.

l Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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