All 13 Ball State frats agree not to host events with alcohol for 3 months

Ball State University
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MUNCIE, Ind. (WTHR) - Riverside Avenue near the Ball State University campus is home to several fraternities. It's also "party central" come weekends, but not anymore, at least not for the next three months.

On Monday, the presidents of all 13 fraternities agreed not to host any social events with or without alcohol until after January 31, 2018. That includes parties or gatherings at their at their frat houses or anywhere else.

They also agreed that all members would undergo mandatory training on alcohol abuse, sexual assault, bystander intervention and hazing.

Kathy Wolf, Ball State's Vice President for Marketing and Communication, said the he decision to go alcohol-free for three months "was prompted by the leadership of our fraternity presidents in collaboration with the university."

She stressed it was not in response to a single event.

"What happened is what we'll describe as a series of patterns or behaviors that are not consistent with the culture of Ball State and what we desire to be," Wolf said.

While social media lit up after the agreement became public, few fraternity members were willing to talk about it.

One said he knew nothing about it until Monday night. Another said they'd been advised not to comment.

"I think it's understandable from the school's perspective and a good opportunity for fraternities to focus on academics," said Daniel Jo, who belongs to Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

When asked if it was controversial, he smiled. "I would say so," he said.

While Wolf said the decision to go alcohol-free was based on several issues, several students said they were convinced it's in response to at least three sexual assaults over the last few weeks.

"I applaud the university for taking any step (to address) sexual assault, but I think the way they did it was incredibly weak, and casting a blanket statement over an entire community for something when not everyone committed a crime, is not a good thing to do," said Cat Anaganos, a sorority member.

"There's a problem and they're trying to solve it," said freshman Isaac Geiger.

"But I don't think they're handling it properly and they're trying to cover it up and saying they're shutting it all down, but they're not dealing with what happened," Hannah Newton said.

"Instead of making it an issue of are fraternities being persecuted or not, it's really not about that. It's about keeping everybody safe," said Michael Fenters.

As for what happens if a fraternity violates the agreement, Wolf said she fully expected fraternities to abide by the agreement. If one didn't, the university would take action, though she declined to elaborate.

She also said that they will reassess things in late December or early January to decide whether the ban should be lifted or extended.

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