Fraternities and drinking deaths

Monday, October 21, 2013

After a freshman died from downing beer, rum and 151-proof liquor in an initiation ritual, California Polytechnic State University in 2010 banned fraternities from recruiting newly arrived students.

Right away, the North-American Interfraternity Conference, which represents 75 national fraternities, jumped in. The Indianapolis-based trade group emailed and met with Cal Poly administrators, paid for a study that opposed the ban and spurred a three-year campaign by student leaders. It won, and the school lifted the restriction this year. One freshman, Charlie Ross, couldn’t be happier about the opportunity to join a fraternity right away instead of waiting three months.

“You’ve got a group of guys who watch out for you when you’re drinking,” Ross, 18, said after unpacking his bags at freshman orientation on the San Luis Obispo campus.

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