Jul 24, 2013 09:31 AM EDT
Butt-Chugging Incident at University of Tennessee Causes Major Fraternity Reform
University of Tennessee (UT) fraternities will be under a much more watchful eye this year after a suspension for a "butt-chugging" incident the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
The school's Interfraternity Council raised the minimum GPA requirement of frat brothers to 2.75 and is working on hiring extra security for weekends. The Phi Sigma Kappa house will also get its first resident house director in more than a decade.
Some of the changes were nearly mandated by a UT greek life task force and others were changes made by the fraternity itself. The changes come after the hospitalization of a 20-year-old Phi Sigma brother last fall.
"It's the actions of a few individuals that ultimately not only reflected negatively on the (Pi Kappa Alpha) fraternity, but also the greek system and the university as a whole," said Kelly Williams, chapter adviser for Sigma Phi Epsilon.
The incident occurred last September when an underage fraternity brother was given an enema filled with wine. The practice is referred to as "butt-chugging" for obvious reasons. That method of alcohol consumption also leads to drunkenness and alcohol poisoning much faster. The student was hospitalized for severe intoxication after his blood-alcohol content was .40.
"The need was there, obviously, to try to work toward a change in the culture, but that was the one event that brought attention to it more than any other," Williams said. "There's been a concerted effort, especially here in the last several months, to work with the university to implement the recommendations in the task force, but also to impact the culture among the students at the university."
In the school's past five years, 14 fraternities have received punishment 30 times for 68 violations spanning alcohol abuse, hazing, nudity and physical abuse. Phi Gamma Delta has since been shut down. The task force made a sweeping recommendation that all fraternities have a live-in house director by fall 2014.
Dale Akins, president of Phi Sigma Kappa's housing corporation, said the new in-house director is married physical trainer who does not drink. The fraternity is the first of any at UT to hire a live-in house director.
"We're trying to take the liability issue and contain it a little bit," said Akins. "And to help these guys understand that we're there to support you, not tell you what you should or shouldn't do... but the rules at UT are simple."
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