FACT Health and Safety Guidance to Chapters

As Adopted by FACT May 1, 2018

 

 

Overview

The Fraternity Alumni Council of Austin (FACT) was created in 2018 to supplement alumni advisors’ voluntary efforts on the self-governance of fraternities as well as strengthening and sustaining the 130-year-old UT Austin Greek system. FACT seeks to ensure that individuals joining Texas fraternities have the best possible collegiate fraternal experience, which includes promoting success in school, encouraging community service, inculcating lifelong values and developing men as leaders. Along with our host institution UT Austin, FACT is also committed to educating on and eliminating where possible high-risk behaviors such as underage drinking, illegal drug use, hazing, sexual misconduct and physical assault within FACT member IFC fraternities.

Risk management needs to be a priority consideration in all areas of fraternity operations. A risk avoidance mindset and related health and safety programs allows brothers to prevent, avoid and minimize problems before they occur. Brothers must take personal responsibility for their actions to help ensure the safety of their fellow brothers, guests and the broader community.

FACT believes member safety is an essential investment of time and effort and every UT chapter is advised to so prioritize. FACT is adding its voice to existing (inter)national fraternities’ risk management policies and procedures, as well as UT Austin’s student Code of Conduct, for compliance in health and safety practices. FACT offers the following guidance to help alumni volunteers and chapter leaders to more effectively identify and mitigate risk, and create safe and healthy fraternity environments for brothers and guests.

 

Alcoholic Beverage Guidance

Rationale: Providing a healthy and safe environment is critical to the success of a fraternity. Abuse of alcohol and underage drinking may impair brothers and guests and can be avoided by strict enforcement of the state’s alcohol laws and common-sense practices. Chapters do not have alcohol licenses and therefore cannot provide alcohol. A ban on hard alcohol served at events on fraternity properties should be implemented effective September 1, 2018.

  1. Bulk Purchase: No alcoholic beverages may be purchased through chapter funds nor may the purchase of same for members or guests be undertaken or coordinated by any member in the name of or on behalf of the chapter. The purchase or use of a bulk quantity or common source(s) of alcoholic beverages, for example, kegs or open source punch, is prohibited.  “Bring Your Own Beverage” (beer or wine only) may be advisable.

  2. Beer and Wine Allowable, No Hard Liquor: The drinking age is 21 in Texas; for members and guests 21 and older, the lawful consumption of beer or wine is acceptable on fraternity property.  Liquor is prohibited which includes punch containing liquor. With possible exceptions for parent or alumni functions only, liquor exceeding 15 percent ABV should not be consumed in fraternity houses.

  3. Serving Methodologies/Processes: Chapter functions with alcohol present must abide by either a BYOB policy or must use a third-party vendor.  Fraternities should ensure that third-party vendors are licensed and insured.

  4. Educating and preventing alcohol abuse: Chapters should be familiar with University of Texas policies and state laws regarding bystander intervention.  Chapters should consider alcohol education sessions on an at least twice annual basis.  Chapters should understand their insurer and respective (inter)national standards on immediate notification of emergency services related to any possible alcohol-related incident and in a common-sense approach never delay or withhold medical attention to a brother or guest.

 

Event Management Guidance

Rationale:  Social events are a part of collegiate life. Fraternities should endeavor to host events that are fun, safe, and under control. Event guest attendance and security planning are critical to maintaining a safe and secure environment. Events must have rigorous planning mindful of liability issues to ensure the safety of members and attendees to ensure a successful event.

  1. Guest Ratios: Events should be limited to a guest-to-member ratio of no more than 4:1 for events with alcohol, or a fraternity house’s own fire code occupancy limit, or fewer guests as required by the chapter/(inter)national standard.

  2. Guest Lists:  Each fraternity should consider establishing an event management and guest registration procedure for events with alcohol.  To further decrease risk, it is advisable that events with alcohol have a guest list and non-members of the organization should have specific invitations.  It is paramount for chapters to “know your guests” attending a party or other function.

  3. Private Security:  The use of private security at events is recommended. Chapters should ensure that security vendors are currently licensed, bonded and insured, and are unrelated to a contracted beverage vendor. The addition of off-duty licensed Texas peace officers is also advisable.

  4. Third Party Alcoholic Beverage Server: Chapters should ensure that third party alcohol vendors are currently licensed, bonded and insured, and are unrelated to a contracted security vendor.  

  5. City of Austin Ordinance Compliance: Fraternities must be mindful of their neighbors in residential areas and abide by applicable municipal regulations.  Chapters should be familiar and in compliance with fire and safety, occupancy/capacity, proper permitting for parties and build parties, and noise issues.

 

New Member Education Guidance

Rationale: Chapters should strive to identify and support members that are committed to the values and standards of the fraternity and carefully manage a meaningful and constructive new member onboarding process.

  1. Meaningful Education and On-Boarding: Chapters should ensure their new member education programs promote brotherhood and cohesiveness consistent with their respective (inter)national fraternity’s standards. Chapters should consider limiting to the extent possible the length of the new member-to-initiation-process.  Always monitor health, safety and welfare of a new member’s experience.

  2. No Alcohol: No alcohol is to be present at any pledge/new member program, activity or ritual of the chapter.

  3. Zero Tolerance on Hazing of New Members:  Hazing is against state law and violates UT Austin rules and will not be tolerated by any chapter.  Individuals violating the hazing prohibition are subject to expulsion from the University and their fraternity, as well as a criminal complaint.

 

Healthy, Respectful Relationships; Preventing Sexual Misconduct

Rationale: Federal and state laws as well as University of Texas Student Code of Conduct policies prohibit sexual violence, as well as dating and domestic violence, stalking, and other forms of misconduct. This prohibition applies to students, employees, and others; as well as to conduct both on and off-campus. In addition to University and fraternity sanctions such as suspension or expulsion, arrest, criminal prosecution and restitution may be enforced. Victims and survivors have numerous rights granted by federal and state laws. Sexual violence is also considered to be a Title IX violation.

  1. Zero Tolerance for Sexual Misconduct:  At least 75 percent of a fraternity’s members should attend educational sessions at least annually on healthy relationships, preventing sexual misconduct, harassment or assault.  Members are expected to act as gentleman at all times with guests and the university community at large.

 

Other General Guidance

Rationale: The fraternity experience is only a small part of members’ college experience.  The pursuit of high academic and learning standards should be paramount in all Chapters. Chapters should make concerted efforts to foster the mental and physical health of their members as well as encouraging them to live balanced and well-rounded lives, and always behaving as gentleman and treating others with respect.

 

  1. Academic Standards: Chapters may wish to establish a requirement such as all members to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA in order to maintain membership and may wish to provide study halls or mandate study hours for new members as well as academic underachieving members.

  2. UT Austin Enrolled Student Status:  Fraternity members should be enrolled students in good standing with UT Austin or as otherwise permitted by a chapter’s (inter)national standards.

  3. Zero Tolerance for Illegal Drugs: The manufacture, possession, sale or use of any illegal drugs or controlled substances while on chapter premises or during a fraternity event or at any event that an observer would associate with a fraternity is strictly prohibited.

  4. Social Media: Care should be taken by individual members and chapters that social channels positively add to a fraternity’s image.  Diverse opinions are respected, but members are strongly encouraged to comport themselves as gentlemen on social media.  Fun is encouraged, but members should “think before you post.”  Everyone is watching.

 

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Adopted by the FACT Membership May 1, 2018.

 

Note: This guidance shall in no way be interpreted as to contradict, replace or supersede the standards of FACT member chapters’ existing (inter)national fraternity standards, insurer guidelines, UT Austin Student Code of Conduct, nor state or local laws, ordinances or regulations. Chapters should consult their insurer or (inter)national fraternity standards for primary health and safety guidance. This document is not considered legal advice, consult your own attorney.  FACT’s Health and Safety Guidance may be updated and revised from time to time.

© 2018 Fraternity Alumni Council of Texas

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