Fraternity Events with Alcohol
Minimum Standards and Safety Guidelines for
MSU Fraternity Events with Alcohol
Fraternities are important and historic student organizations at Montana State University (MSU). To advance the relationship between our local chapters at MSU and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of MSU students who attend fraternity events with alcohol, the Office of the Dean of Students (DOS) at MSU has approved the following Minimum Standards and Safety Guidelines for Fraternity Events with Alcohol.
Any activity or event sponsored or endorsed by the chapter where alcohol is present shall be held in a manner that adheres to all requirements of the chapter’s national organization, North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), MSU policies, and all local, state, and federal laws.
Event Definitions, Registation, and Spontaneous Events
An Event with Alcohol is defined as: Any activity or event sponsored or endorsed by the chapter where alcohol is present, when non-affiliated individuals outnumber chapter residents on chapter property or at off-campus events with alcohol hosted by the chapter.
Planned events shall be registered with the DOS six (6) business days prior to the event using the Fraternity and Sorority Function Notification Form. The event will be approved or denied by DOS no later than four  business days prior to said event. However, the DOS reserves the right to not approve a late request and/or a poorly planned function.
The DOS will forward the event notification to the MSU Police Department (UPD) and IFC. The Officer in Charge of the hosting fraternity is encouraged to check in with UPD by phone the day of the event to notify them. This allows UPD to appropriately respond to any emergency or safety calls from the host fraternity or Chapter Safety & Compliance Team during the event.
A Spontaneous Gathering becomes an event when the number of non-affiliated individuals present outnumber chapter residents and alcohol is present on chapter property or at an off-campus event with alcohol hosted by the chapter. When this occurs the hosting fraternity must contact IFC, UPD, and DOS to register the event through verbal notification with the IFC Safety and Compliance Team.
Events should end within a five-hour period and adhere to the time limits listed below. Time limits for events include:
|WEEKDAYS:||10:00 p.m.||12:00 a.m.|
|WEEKENDS:||10:00 p.m.||2:00 a.m.|
Limits for amplified music, particularly outdoors, will need to be no later than 10:00pm.
NIC Alcohol and Drug Guidelines
In any activity or event sponsored or endorsed by the chapter/organization, including those that occur on or off organizational/chapter premises:
- The chapter/organization, members and guests must comply with all federal, state, provincial, and local laws. No person under the legal drinking age may possess, consume, provide, or be provided alcoholic beverages.
- The chapter/organization, members and guests must follow the federal law regarding illegal drugs and controlled substances. No person may possess, use, provide, distribute, sell, and/or manufacture illegal drugs or other controlled substances while on chapter/organizational premises or at any activity or event sponsored or endorsed by the chapter/organization.
- Alcoholic beverages must either be:
Provided and sold on a per-drink basis by a licensed and insured third-party vendor (e.g., restaurant, bar, caterer, etc.); or
b. Brought by individual members and guests through a bring your own beverage (“BYOB”) system. The presence of alcohol products above 15% alcohol by volume (“ABV”) is prohibited on any chapter/organization premises or at any event. Exceptions are given when served by a licensed and insured third-party vendor at an off-campus (off chapter property) event that has been registered and pre-approved by DOS.
- Common sources of alcohol, including bulk quantities, which are not being served by a licensed and insured third party vendor, are prohibited (i.e., amounts of alcohol greater than what a reasonable person should consume over the duration of an event).
- Alcoholic beverages must not be purchased with chapter/organizational funds or funds pooled by members or guests (e.g., admission fees, cover fees, collecting funds through digital apps, etc.).
- A chapter/organization must not co-host or co-sponsor, or in any way participate in, an activity or event with another group or entity that purchases or provides alcohol.
- A chapter/organization must not co-host or co-sponsor an event with a bar, event promoter or alcohol distributor; however, a chapter/organization may rent a bar, restaurant, or other licensed and insured third-party vendor to host a chapter/organization event.
- Attendance by non-members at any event where alcohol is present must be by invitation only, and the chapter/organization must utilize a guest list system. Attendance at events with alcohol is limited to a 3:1 maximum guest-to-member ratio and must not exceed local fire or building code capacity of the chapter/organizational premises or host venue.
- Any event or activity related to the new member joining process (e.g., recruitment, intake, rush, etc.) must be substance free. No alcohol or drugs may be present if the event or activity is related to new member activities, meetings, or initiation into an organization, including but not limited to “bid night,” “big/little” events or activities, “family” events or activities and any ritual or ceremony.
- The chapter/organization, members or guests must not permit, encourage, coerce, glorify, or participate in any activities involving the rapid consumption of alcohol, such as drinking games.
Chapter Safety and Risk Team (CSRT)
During an event with alcohol, the Fraternity must have an identified Chapter Safety & Risk Team (CSRT). The CSRT shall include:
- Four (4) chapter members who remain alcohol/substance free throughout the event;
- One (1) member of the CSRT who serves as the Officer in Charge;
- Members who are trained annually through DOS and the VOICE Center;
- Members who wear identifying t-shirts throughout the event.
The CSRT members must control who enters the event. The CSRT will check the IDs of every guest. The chapter will determine how to identify guests of legal age separately from underaged guests.
The Chapter should have one (1) single entry/exit point. It is also encouraged to limit access to individuals who are not known by the members of the chapter. The Chapter will be held responsible for the behavior of their guests when violations occur by the DOS.
IFC Safety and Compliance Team (IFC SCT)
The purpose of the IFC SCT is to perform routine and standard checks at fraternity events with alcohol to ensure that students are participating in social events in a safe and responsible manner.
The IFC SCT will consist of the IFC Sergeant at Arms, two fraternity men who are not affiliated with the hosting house, one student unaffiliated with FSL, and a DOS representative when assigned.
Each chapter will assign at least one member to be a part of the IFC SCT. IFC SCT members must attend the MSU VOICE Center Violence Prevention Workshop and the DOS Risk Management Program. It is strongly encouraged that the Chapter nominates a member with an EMT background.
The IFC SCT will be assigned to perform compliance checks at all Fraternity Events with Alcohol and will be notified no later than three  days before the scheduled event to ensure availability. The fraternity hosting the event will also be notified of the make-up of the compliance team.
The IFC SCT will perform a thorough check of the Fraternity Event with Alcohol during the event. The hosting fraternity will be notified of the approximate time for the walk-through prior to the IFC SCT arrival.
The Officer in Charge for the hosting fraternity will lead the IFC SCT throughout the common areas of the house and shall assist them in addressing any issues that are found. During the walk through the committee will fill out an Fraternity Safety and Compliance Report which will be signed and dated by each member at the completion of the procedure.
Fraternity Safety and Compliance Report
- Outside Noise Level:The IFC SCT will perform a decibel check from outside the house to inform the Chapter of a possible aggravating noise level. They will inform the Officer in Charge so that he can remedy the issue if needed.
- Occupancy Compliance:The IFC SCT is not at the function to enforce the house’s fire code capacity, but rather to determine if the population is at a safe level. This means that there is a reasonable amount of space for people to evacuate in the event of an emergency. This is up to the discretion of the IFC SCT but is not meant for them to “count heads.”
- Over-intoxication Issues: If the IFC SCT witnesses a situation that involves an overly intoxicated individual, the IFC SCT will immediately bring the concern to the attention of the Officer in Charge for a solution. If an individual is found to be overly intoxicated, CSRT should assess whether the individual requires medical attention and contact UPD for transport.
- Combative and disruptive guests will be taken care of through UPD.
During the procedure, if a concern is discovered, the IFC SCT will respond:
- If the issue is a quick and easy fix, they will address the risk management team and will participate in the correction of the problem immediately. The issue will be described in the “comments” area of the report and will include the steps taken to correction.
- If the problem is of the nature stated above but, in the opinion of the IFC SCT, has been a recurring issue at the hosting fraternity’s functions, the team should handle the situation as listed above, but will recommend that charges be brought to the IFC J-Board to address the reoccurring problem.
- If the issue is an imminent threat to any member or non-member’s wellbeing and safety, the IFC SCT has the power to request that the Officer in Charge immediately terminate the function. If necessary, the IFC SCT may contact emergency services (UPD) to gain control of the situation. The incident in question will then be addressed by an IFC J-Board Hearing and DOS.
Annual Risk Management Education and Programming
- All chapter members are required to attend a Risk Management Program every fall semester. This program will educate members on the standards and guidelines for events with alcohol and assist with ensuring safety and compliance. This training will be held on the Tuesday before school starts and will last approximately 3 hours. Each chapter must have at least 80% of their membership in attendance to be eligible to host events with alcohol during the semester.
- All chapter members will attend Sexual Assault prevention training hosted by the MSU VOICE Center. This training will be a minimum of one-hour and scheduled during the first month of each semester.
- Other academic and community service program trainings as required by IFC, Panhellenic, and the DOS.
MSU Police Department (UPD)
- MSU Police will be the first responders to complaints regarding noise, loud and unruly events, alcohol violations and other potential violations of the law. Police officers will enter the chapter house to issue criminal citations after securing a lawful warrant, as appropriate.
- It is highly encouraged to call UPD upon the arrival of individuals who are not invited to attend the event. UPD can be a great resource for shutting an event down per the Chapter’s request when too many people are showing up and need to be turned away.
- Chapter leadership (President, VP, and Risk Manager) may be held accountable when policies, procedures and state laws are not followed on chapter property.
Office of the Dean of Students (DOS)
- The DOS will respond to all alleged violations of these rules. The DOS may reserve any decisions regarding alleged violations until they review sanctioning recommendations from the IFC Judicial Council.
- The DOS will support the IFC Judicial Council in following and updating the IFC “judicial matrix” for alleged violations. The DOS has the discretion to assign a IFC Judicial Board to adjudicate alleged violation and to recommend sanctions based upon such a matrix.
- The DOS has the discretion to assign a staff member to accompany the Safety and Compliance Team during their work. This includes the Dean of Students, Associate Dean of Students, Sr. Assistant Dean of Students, and Assistant Dean of Students. The DOS representative’s goal is to provide another perspective to the Safety & Compliance Team and to help address issues as they arise. They are not there to issue Conduct Code violations.
Updated August 2021