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Two major fraternities ban alcohol in houses

Two major fraternities have become the first in the nation to ban alcohol in chapter houses, and more are expected to follow suit.

The new policy by Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Nu is aimed at a new breed of frat man more serious about earning a degree than chugging beer. The ban is to go into effect by the year 2000.

"They're coming to school to get an education, and they need a family and some friends. They want a clean, safe house were they can study and hang out," said Robert Pasquinucci, a spokesman for Phi Delta Theta, which announced their policy this week.

A spot check of the University of Cincinnati's fraternity row found few brothers willing to embrace the new trend.

"It's a fad. It's all politically correct," scoffed Eric Thurston as he tossed a football outside the Alpha Tau Omega house.

"I'm 21 years old," added chapter president Raj Ghia. "Why can't I have a beer?"

But many fraternity officials are fed up with the problems alcohol has caused on campus and believe it's time for a change.

Excessive drinking at fraternities over the years has led to deaths and injuries and ruined academic careers.

"It's not necessarily going to solve all of our problems, but many of the poor decisions students make on campuses today are the result of using alcohol," said Jonathan Brant of the National Interfraternity Conference. He expects most of the 63 national fraternities in his group to join the trend.

Phi Delta Theta has 180 chapters and 7,500 members. Sigma Nu has 210 chapters and 9,000 members.