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IOWA CITY - One sorority and one fraternity out of 26 eligible University of Iowa Greek chapters have asked to hold parties with alcohol this weekend - as part of a test of new, strict guidelines around such events in the future.
The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity is planning to host a party from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Iowa City. The Chi Omega sorority is planning its event from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday at the Rapid Creek Cidery in Iowa City.
Both organizations, per the proposed formal and date party policy, had to provide the university with a guest list - Phi Kappa Psi expects 200 attendees, and Chi Omega is planning for 300, according to information provided to The Gazette from the university.
This weekend's events will be the first sanctioned Greek system parties with alcohol since the university enacted a moratorium on them in May after UI freshman Kamil Jackowski, 19, died April 30 during a Sigma Chi event at Lake of the Ozarks. He was there for an out-of-town formal with his fraternity, and thus events outside Johnson County were barred, too.
A fraternity and sorority life alcohol harm reduction work group has been meeting since to create a path forward. The group developed highly regulated party guidelines that they offered the university's 26 compliant chapters to test this weekend. Ten chapters are not in good standing for reasons the university hasn't disclosed, and therefore can't host a local party with alcohol.
Although the policy, if enacted, would require chapters to submit requests two weeks in advance of any party they want to throw, an exception was made for this weekend's pilot - chapters had to submit paperwork two days in advance.
Only the two chapters had applied as of Thursday, according to UI spokeswoman Jeneane Beck.
The events will be closely monitored, involve elaborate drink-monitoring techniques and require extensive follow-up - including surveys and interviews with the chapters involved.
The UI crackdown comes as fraternities and sororities nationally are grappling with persistent cultures and climates that promote high-risk drinking, hazing and sexual behavior. In the wake of student deaths, some campuses have halted all Greek system activities.
At the UI, administrators stress the moratorium remains in place until they can evaluate the success of this weekend's pilot. They don't have a timetable for potential permanent installation of the new rules, which would allow compliant chapters to host one date party and one semiformal in Johnson County per semester.
Other new rules require chapters to:
l Submit names, birth dates and student ID numbers on their guest list.
l Hire third-party security to check IDs and cross-check the guest list.
l Restrict alcohol sales to one three-hour period.
l Distribute wristbands with five pull-tabs designed to limit attendees to five drinks over the three-hour period, with no more than two drinks an hour.
l Only serve, via cash bar, beer, wine and hard cider.
l Restrict servings to standard-sized containers - maximum sizes include 12 ounces for beer, five ounces for wine and 12 ounces for hard cider.
l Have one sober monitor per 20 people - they can't be new members and must include chapter leadership.
l Allow UI police to conduct unannounced walk-throughs and compliance checks.
l Offer non-alcoholic drink options and food;
The chapters must cover bar tending fees and event security - which Beck said often is included in venue costs. For the pilot period, according to Beck, the Interfraternity Council is paying for the student security officers.
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