Living the Hardway (The Fraternity-#8)
They also include the March conviction of Jesse M.
Living the Hardway (The Fraternity-#8)
He is appealing the decision. The notion that fraternities are target defendants did not hold true in my investigation. College students can and do fall out of just about any kind of residence, of course. But during the period of time under consideration, serious falls from fraternity houses on the two Palouse campuses far outnumbered those from other types of student residences, including privately owned apartments occupied by students.
Why are so many colleges allowing students to live and party in such unsafe locations? And why do the lawsuits against fraternities for this kind of serious injury and death—so predictable and so preventable—have such a hard time getting traction? The answers lie in the recent history of fraternities and the colleges and universities that host them. What all of these lawsuits ultimately concern is a crucially important question in higher education, one that legal scholars have been grappling with for the past half century.
This question is perhaps most elegantly expressed in the subtitle of Robert D.
PDF Living the Hardway (The Fraternity-#8)
Bickel and Peter F. During this period of student unrest, the fraternities—long the unquestioned leaders in the area of sabotaging or ignoring the patriarchal control of school administrators—became the exact opposite: representatives of the very status quo the new activists sought to overthrow. Suddenly their beer bashes and sorority mixers, their panty raids and obsession with the big game, seemed impossibly reactionary when compared with the mind-altering drugs being sampled in off-campus apartments where sexual liberation was being born and the Little Red Book proved, if nothing else, a fantastic coaster for a leaky bong.
American students sought to wrest themselves entirely from the disciplinary control of their colleges and universities, institutions that had historically operated in loco parentis , carefully monitoring the private behavior of undergraduates.
The students of the new era wanted nothing to do with that infantilizing way of existence, and fought to rid themselves of the various curfews, dorm mothers, demerit systems, and other modes of institutional oppression. It was a turning point: American colleges began to regard their students not as dependents whose private lives they must shape and monitor, but as adult consumers whose contract was solely for an education, not an upbringing.
The doctrine of in loco parentis was abolished at school after school. Through it all, fraternities—for so long the repositories of the most outrageous behavior—moldered, all but forgotten.
living the hardway the fraternity 8 Manual
Membership fell sharply, fraternity houses slid into increasing states of disrepair, and hundreds of chapters closed. If something as fundamentally reactionary as fraternity membership was going to replace something as fundamentally radical as student unrest, it would need to align itself with someone whose bona fides among young, white, middle-class males were unassailable.
Fraternity life was reborn with a vengeance. It was an entirely new kind of student who arrived at the doors of those great and crumbling mansions: at once deeply attracted to the ceremony and formality of fraternity life and yet utterly transformed by the social revolutions of the past decades. Furthermore, in Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, with the ultimate result of raising the legal drinking age to 21 in all 50 states.
This change moved college partying away from bars and college-sponsored events and toward private houses—an ideal situation for fraternities.
When these advances were combined with the evergreen fraternity traditions of violent hazing and brawling among rival frats, the scene quickly became wildly dangerous. Adult supervision was nowhere to be found.
Why Don’t Colleges Get Rid of Their Bad Fraternities? - The Atlantic
Colleges had little authority to intervene in what took place in the personal lives of its students visiting private property. With these conditions in place, lawsuits began to pour in. The mids were a treacherous time to be the defendant in a tort lawsuit. Americans in vast numbers—motivated perhaps in part by the possibility of financial recompense, and in part by a new national impetus to move personal suffering from the sphere of private sorrow to that of public confession and complaint—began to sue those who had damaged them.
These institutions possess deep reservoirs of liability coverage, but students rarely recover significant funds from their schools. But for the fraternities themselves, it was a far different story. So recently and robustly brought back to life, the fraternities now faced the most serious threat to their existence they had ever experienced. A single lawsuit had the potential to devastate a fraternity. Liability insurance became both ruinously expensive and increasingly difficult to obtain. The insurance industry ranked American fraternities as the sixth-worst insurance risk in the country—just ahead of toxic-waste-removal companies.
For fraternities to survive, they needed to do four separate but related things: take the task of acquiring insurance out of the hands of the local chapters and place it in the hands of the vast national organizations; develop procedures and policies that would transfer as much of their liability as possible to outside parties; find new and creative means of protecting their massive assets from juries; and—perhaps most important of all—find a way of indemnifying the national and local organizations from the dangerous and illegal behavior of some of their undergraduate members.
The way fraternities accomplished all of this is the underlying story in the lawsuits they face, and it is something that few members—and, I would wager, even fewer parents of members—grasp completely, comprising a set of realities you should absolutely understand in detail if your son ever decides to join a fraternity. Self-insurance was an obvious means for combating prohibitive insurance pricing and the widening reluctance to insure fraternities.
In , four fraternities created what was first called the Fraternity Risk Management Trust, a vast sum of money used for reinsurance. Today, 32 fraternities belong to this trust. In , a group of seven other fraternities bought their own insurance broker, James R.
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Favor, which now insures many others. More important than self-insurance, however, was the development of a risk-management policy that would become—across these huge national outfits and their hundreds of individual chapters—the industry standard. This was accomplished by the creation of something called the Fraternal Information and Programming Group FIPG , which in the mids developed a comprehensive risk-management policy for fraternities that is regularly updated. Currently 32 fraternities are members of the FIPG and adhere to this policy, or to their own even more rigorous versions.
In a certain sense, you may think you belong to Tau Kappa Epsilon or Sigma Nu or Delta Tau Delta—but if you find yourself a part of life-changing litigation involving one of those outfits, what you really belong to is FIPG, because its risk-management policy and your adherence to or violation of it will determine your fate far more than the vows you made during your initiation ritual—vows composed by long-dead men who had never even heard of the concept of fraternity insurance.
FIPG regularly produces a risk-management manual—the current version is 50 pages—that lays out a wide range of optional best practices. If the manual were Anna Karenina , alcohol policy would be its farming reform: the buzz-killing subplot that quickly reveals itself to be an authorial obsession. So: alcohol and the fraternity man. Despite everything you may think you know about life on frat row, there are actually only two FIPG-approved means of serving drinks at a frat party.
The first is to hire a third-party vendor who will sell drinks and to whom some liability—most significant, that of checking whether drinkers are of legal age—will be transferred. The second and far more common is to have a BYO event, in which the liability for each bottle of alcohol resides solely in the person who brought it. The official byo system is like something dreamed up by a committee of Soviet bureaucrats and Irish nuns.
It begins with the composition—no fewer than 24 hours before the party—of a comprehensive guest list. Okay, so Larry brings a six-pack. Does he appear to have already consumed any alcohol? If he passes, he hands over his ID for inspection. Note also that these policies make it possible for fraternities to be the one industry in the country in which every aspect of serving alcohol can be monitored and managed by people who are legally too young to drink it.
But when the inevitable catastrophes do happen, that policy can come to seem more like a cynical hoax than a real-world solution to a serious problem. When something terrible takes place—a young man plummets from a roof, a young woman is assaulted, a fraternity brother is subjected to the kind of sexual sadism that appears all too often in fraternity lawsuits—any small violation of policy can leave fraternity members twisting in the wind. Consider the following scenario: Larry makes a small, human-size mistake one night. Larry never sees the kid again that night—not many people do; he ends up drinking himself to death in an upstairs bedroom.
What will happen to Larry now? Gentle reader, if you happen to have a son currently in a college fraternity, I would ask that you take several carbon dioxide—rich deep breaths from a paper bag before reading the next paragraph. As for the exorbitant cost of providing the young man with a legal defense for the civil case in which, of course, there are no public defenders , that is money he and his parents are going to have to scramble to come up with, perhaps transforming the family home into an ATM to do it.
But in , the plan suddenly disappeared from its pages. As it is described in the two most recent editions that I was able to obtain and , the plan serves a dual purpose, at once benevolent and mercenary. The benevolent part is accomplished by the clear directive that injured parties are to receive immediate medical attention, and that all fraternity brothers who come into contact with the relevant emergency workers are to be completely forthright about what has taken place. And the rest? The plans I obtained recommend six important steps:.
They would much rather hear about a situation from you at a. Most situations occur at night.