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Important Risk Reduction Policy Changes

Updates from Lexington

In keeping with its Mission to develop ethical leaders, Sigma Nu is committed to helping collegiate chapters create safe and healthy experiences for members and guests at all events. In fact, the entire fraternity and sorority community shares that commitment. 

In August and November 2018, representatives of Sigma Nu participated in legislative meetings of the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), a trade association for 66 men’s fraternities including Sigma Nu. A primary purpose of the NIC is to strengthen the fraternity community as a means of ensuring its continued viability and success for current and future generations.  

With that focus, the 66 NIC member fraternities, including Sigma Nu, felt it was imperative to act with one voice to implement industry-wide alcohol and drug guidelines to be enacted by all NIC member organizations by September 1, 2019. 

The High Council, Sigma Nu’s board of directors elected last summer by the 68th Grand Chapter, adopted numerous changes, in consultation with legal counsel, to the Fraternity’s Risk Reduction Policy, to align with the NIC Alcohol and Drug Guidelines. These changes went into effect on August 1, 2019. 

So, what does this mean for you and your chapter?

While many minor changes were made to the policy, only a couple of changes substantively impact chapter and alumni entity operations: 

  • The first substantive change provides clarification on an already existing expectation. The end of the preamble now includes, “Section I, A-H and K-Y apply to any event organized by persons, entities, and organizations covered by the general liability insurance policy of Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc (including, but not limited to, alumni advisory boards, alumni chapters, alumni clubs, house corporations, chapter educational foundations, and parent clubs).” This change explicitly makes clear that the Risk Reduction Policy applies to events organized by recognized Sigma Nu alumni entities.  

  • The second substantive change has already been adopted by numerous local Interfraternity Councils and/or host institutions – a prohibition on alcoholic beverages above 15% alcohol by volume (ABV) on chapter premises and at chapter events, except when served by a licensed and insured third-party vendor. The specific policy (Section I, Items G and H) is as follows: 

    • “The presence of alcoholic beverages above 15% alcohol by volume (“ABV”) is prohibited on chapter premises, except when served by a licensed and insured third-party vendor.

    • The presence of alcoholic beverages above 15% alcohol by volume (“ABV”) is prohibited at any chapter event, except when served by a licensed and insured third party vendor.” 

 
 

Regarding the prohibition of alcohol above 15% ABV, the only difference with the current policy of Sigma Nu is that the new policy prohibits alcohol products above 15% ABV in private rooms of of-age members in the chapter house. Since most chapter house residents are below the legal drinking age for the state in which the chapter is located, the actual impact on members and the chapter’s operations will be minimal. Keep in mind, alcohol products above 15% ABV can still be present if part of a licensed and insured third party vendor setup. 

For additional information and guidance on how to effectively prepare your chapter and its members to comply with the new policy expectations, check out https://www.sigmanu.org/collegiate-members/risk-reduction#RRPUpdates where you can find numerous helpful resources related to the policy changes, including a recording of the webinar training conducted for volunteers in July 2019.  

Beginning with the commitment of Founders Hopkins, Quarles, and Riley to create a safer environment for VMI cadets by founding an organization in direct opposition to hazing, a commitment to creating a safe, principles-based Fraternity experience has, and will remain, a cornerstone of the Legion of Honor. Thank you for all that you do in support of the Mission of Sigma Nu Fraternity. 

If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Fred Dobry, Director of Health and Safety, at fred.dobry@sigmanu.org or (540) 784-1502. Also, for resources on properly planning and executing chapter social functions, check out the Fraternity’s Social Planning Webpage 

© 2015-2020 Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.
9 North Lewis Street, P.O. Box 1869, Lexington, Virginia 24450
Phone: (540) 463-1869 | Fax: (540) 463-1669 | Email: headquarters@sigmanu.org

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