Tau Kappa Epsilon Announces Enhanced Alcohol Policy
INDIANAPOLIS – Tau Kappa Epsilon’s Grand Council (International Board of Directors) has made an impactful decision regarding a new stricter policy concerning the use of hard alcohol in TKE Fraternity housing.
Beginning on January 1, 2019, there is a ban on the possession and/or consumption of “hard alcohol” while on chapter property. “Hard alcohol” is defined as any beverage more than 15 percent alcohol by volume or 30-proof. The term "property" for purposes of this policy means a premises, residence, domicile, or facility and is further outlined in the FAQ below.
Over the past four years, Tau Kappa Epsilon has closed numerous chapters, holding each group accountable to the membership standards of our organization. Upon review, internal research highlights hard alcohol as a contributing factor in the closure of the majority of these groups.
Venerable Grand Prytanis, TKE’s International Board Chairman, Christopher T. Hanson (Alpha-Pi, George Washington) shared, “Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity strives to build Better Men for a Better World. We’ve evaluated the landscape of our campuses, the issues affecting our chapters and colonies, and our ability to take a leadership stance in a larger cultural change movement. The Grand Council and I believe we have the right people in place and the courage to implement a substantial change for the benefit of all current and future members of Tau Kappa Epsilon.”
Chief Executive Officer Donald E. Aldrich (Rho-Upsilon, Franklin) added, “This is a landmark decision for Tau Kappa Epsilon. The Grand Council through this policy is exemplifying their commitment to a safe and productive environment for our candidates, members and guests. I know our collegiate members will rise to the occasion and hold themselves accountable to this positive change in TKE.”
Founded on January 10, 1899, Tau Kappa Epsilon is one of the largest collegiate men’s social fraternities in North America with over 283,000 initiated members and 236 active chapters and colonies. TKE’s mission is to aid men in their mental, moral and social development for life. With nearly 12,000 collegiate members, Tau Kappa Epsilon contributes to the advancement of society through the personal growth of our members, and service to others. TKE builds Better Men for a Better World.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does this mean Tau Kappa Epsilon is alcohol-free?
No, it does not. Both alumni and collegiate members, who are of the legal drinking age, are allowed to consume alcohol under 15 percent ABV on chapter property.
What does “chapter property” mean?
The term "property" for purposes of this policy means a premises, residence, domicile, or facility, further defined below:
- House – this is a property owned by a TKE entity leased to a TKE entity that includes sleeping quarters
- Rental – this is a residential property owned by a 3rd party leased to a TKE entity
- Univ. House – this is a University owned property leased to a TKE entity (could also be a Univ. Lodge or Univ. Dorm)
- LL/Rental – this is a property owned by a TKE entity leased to a 3rd party (possibly another Greek group, University or student housing)
- Lodge – this is a property owned by a TKE entity leased to a TKE entity with NO sleeping quarters
What does “TKE entity” mean?
The term “TKE entity” for purposes of this policy means Tau Kappa Epsilon, Inc., or insured “Chapters”, “Colonies”, “Housing Organizations”, or “Alumni Organizations,” but (a) only while acting in accordance with Tau Kappa Epsilon, Inc.’s policies and procedures, and (b) only while acting in their official capacity, and (c) only while acting within the scope of their duties, and (d) only with respect to their liability for activities performed by them on behalf of the Tau Kappa Epsilon, Inc., or of insured “Chapters”, “Colonies”, “Housing Organizations”, or “Alumni Organizations.”
What about Fraternity functions not on chapter premises?
There are no new policies regarding functions held away from chapter property. Please review our full Risk Management policies at www.tke.org/risk including BYOB and third-party vendor guidelines.
How is this new policy going to be enforced?
Like our other risk management policies, we expect our local chapter officers and volunteers to handle any violations of our policies based on the severity of the incident. If individuals or groups are found in violation of this policy, the individual or group will be held accountable proportionally to the incident, up to closure of the chapter or colony.
What went into this decision?
The Grand Council and the Professional Staff have been studying these issues burdening our organization for more than a year. The Risk Committee of the Grand Council was tasked to work alongside the leadership of the Professional Staff to take a focused analysis into the best path forward for TKE in relation to responsible alcohol use. We have consulted with our insurance provider, James R. Favor & Co., and surveyed our membership on the policies already in place on their campuses. The Venerable Grand Prytanis has collaborated with the Chairman of more than eight major fraternities to distinguish the best practices of our peers. Additionally, we have held multiple focus groups of collegiate members and volunteers to understand the effects of policy changes and how they would impact our chapters. Our research highlighted this as the best path for a brighter, more affordable, and deeply sustainable future for Tau Kappa Epsilon.
It is time for our collegiate men to make smarter decisions regarding consumption of alcohol. We must provide safer environments for our members and our guests. In order for Tau Kappa Epsilon to stay relevant to college students in a changing higher education landscape, we must provide potential members with a lifelong experience, by developing better men who can build a better world.
The North-American Interfraternity Conference also recently announced similar decision to ban hard alcohol across all 66 member organizations by September 1, 2019. Though TKE is not a member of the NIC, we are proud to take a similar stance and be one of the leaders for implementation of this new policy beginning on January 1, 2019.
Why did the risk fee get raised if you are lowering overall liability for TKE?
The implementation of this policy doesn't immediately lower our rates with our insurance provider, James R. Favor & Co. TKE and our 11,000 collegiate members need to show our good faith effort toward implementation and accountability regarding this policy.
How do we combat the concerns about filling our chapter houses if individuals over 21+ can no longer drink hard alcohol in them?
It is a requirement that all chapter properties follow these new guidelines. TKE is a private organization and has many guidelines over membership and chapter properties including no firearms on chapter property. As a reminder, TKE is not alcohol-free. The Grand Council is banning hard alcohol over 15% ABV/30-proof from chapter properties. Many alcohol beverages such as beer and wine fall under that mark and are still allowed if the individuals are of legal drinking age.
How do I or members of my chapter learn more about this and our other Risk Manangement Policies?
With today's announcement, the 2018-2019 eCompliance video is now live at edu.tke.org. Remember, as a requirement of membership, each member must complete the annual eCompliance training.
I have additional questions, who should I talk to?
Reach out to your Regional team or the Risk Management Team at the Offices of the Grand Chapter. We are here to assist you in your implementation of this policy.
For more information, please contact:Alex D. Baker
Technology & Communications Consultant