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April 12, 1991 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-04-12
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Fraternity members, city police, and University officials

shy away from

confronting drug use in


Greek system

When federal drug
enforcement officials recently
raided and confiscated three
University of Virginia fraternity
houses found to be dealing drugs,
Michigan fraternity members
didn't jump to bury their bongs
or temper their toking.
And with good reason. Because
of a long enjoyed autonomous
relationship with the University
and little interference from local
police officials, most Greeks feel
- and enforcement agencies agree
- the Virginia raids won't be
"making a difference" in their
private lives.
Some in the system say
nothing in their private lives
warrants investigation. Others,
while admitting drug use, feel it is
no more widespread than in the
mainstream student body. A third
groupfeels the Greek system
actually fosters drug use.
But however nebulous the
relationship between drugs and '
the Greek system may be, one
certainty exists. From Alpha
Delta Phi to Zeta Psi, from the
.DEA to the Fleming Building, all
involved agree that the current
state of drug use in the system
will continue without outside
Is there a problem?
Opinions on illegal drug use in
the Greek system vary widely.
One member described drugs as an
integral part of his house - from
initiation rituals to everyday use.
The source, who wished to
remain anonymous, told how
every pledge took LSD during
initiation, how some members
currently get high up to four
times a day, and how one
particular member is well-known
for manufacturing methyl
amphetamines, better known as
the "Wonder Drug" among
fraternity members.
"Sometimes it bums me out a
little. Like I came back from
Easter and went upstairs and
people were doing whip-its
(inhaling nitrous oxide) and I
thought, 'God, Grandma would
love this,"' he said.
But officials on the
Interfraternity Council (IFC), the
fraternity system'sgoverning
body, point to the above
description of drug use as more
the exception than the rule. IFC

fraternity coordinator Kenneth
Kelly said, "I have no documented
cases of fraternity members using
Kelly sees alcohol as a much
bigger problem in the system and
throughout the University. For
that reason, the IFC has
concentrated most of its efforts at
cleaning up alcohol use in the
system - hence the institution of
"dry rush" and the abolition of
open parties.
'The fraternity system
has a bogus reputation of
being bigger partiers
than the rest of campus
community. There is no
more use in the system
than in the general
population. It is not a
function of a fraternity'
- Jeff Koppy, former IFC
Yet, if drugs are not considered
a big problem, how could the
above fraternity member reveal
that he gets high once or twice a
week and still consider himself
"at the lower end of the scale (in
his house)"?
A consensus answer cannot be
found within the Greek system.
IFC members say drug use is a
result of the individual, not the

system. Fraternity members not
affiliated with the IFC, however,
are more apt to point to the Greek
environment as being conducive
to drug use.
"The fraternity system has a
bogus reputation of being bigger
partiers than the rest of campus
community," said former IFC
representative Jeff Koppy. "There
is no more use in the system than
in the general population. It is not
a function of a fraternity."
Koppy, an LSA senior, said
fraternity members have the false
reputation of being heavier drug
users than the rest of the student
population because of a
stereotype of being more social.
Other IFC representatives
suggested that drug use is lower in
the fraternity system because of
the level of awareness among its
"Fraternity houses don't
harbor drug users more than other
places... there is more awareness
in the Greek system than in the
general student body as a result of
our drug and alcohol programs,"
Kelly said.
Kelly pointed to a discussion of
substance abuse at the Greek
leadership conference held in
March as one example of the
fraternity system's effort to
educate its members about drug

don't know how extensive drug
use is in fraternity houses, and
moreover, are not likely to jump
on the Virginia bandwagon in an
effort to find out.
Pointing to larger drug
movements in Detroit and
surrounding Ann Arbor areas,
local officials contend they are
too busy to be bothered with
what they perceive to be small-
time drug use in the fraternity
"The DEA is more concerned
with drug movement in Detroit,"
said Johnny Granados, an
enforcement agent and public
affairs officer at the DEA. "We
have our hands more than full."
Granados said unless there
were documented cases of large
amounts of drug manufacturing
or selling in fraternity houses, the
DEA would have no interest in
planning any sort of drug raid.
"Drug use at the University is
well below the level needed to
command the attention of the
DEA," he said.
However, if the DEA did find
out about indoor growing of

One undercover detective in
the Ann Arbor Police narcotics
division said, "We have no
interest in targeting University
students or fraternity houses. We
won't pick on any one particular
group. We have enough business
coming into us that we don't
have to go out looking for it."
However, Staff Sergeant
Harry Jinkerson said that if city
police did decide to pursue an
investigation of drug use in
fraternities, the first step would
be getting tips from an
informant. The police would then
get someone who could infiltrate
the house and make some
controlled buys.
After obtaining this sort of
evidence, police would obtain a
search warrant and move in on
the house. Under new federal
guidelines, the police could
confiscate the house if evidence of
drug manufacturing or selling
were found.
Jinkerson said that while "no
one istargeting anyone special...
if it became known that there
were drug rooms in a fraternity
house, we would take action. If
they were at severe risk, we
would burn 'em down as fast as
we could."
Hands tied
If police officials look the
other way when it comes to
investigating drug use in the
fraternity system, administrators
tend to glance at the situation and
do nothing.

As is the case with fraternities,
reports about the extent of drug
use in sororities vary, depending
on whom you ask. Members of
the Panhellenic Association
(Panhel)-- the sorority system's
governing board -report very
little drug usage, while some
sorority members not affiliated
with Panhel say that drug usage is
Yet there is one difference.
Drug usage within the confines of
sorority houses is significantly
lower than in fraternity houses as
a result of stricter supervision.
Under the watchful eye of a
house mother, a house corpora-
tion, and the strict guidelines of
their national chapters, sorority
members report that using drugs
in their houses would not be a
wise move if they want to keep a
roof over their heads.
Though some members do shy
away from using drugs in their
houses, among others recreational
use of drugs like marijuana is
"Marijuana is used frequently
- recreationally. Anything harder
like coke, people don't flaunt,"
said Sarah Poole, an LSA senior
and member of Pi Beta Phi.
Poole said that while one easy

Not in this house,
you won't!

source for drugs is fraternity
houses, it is just as easy for
sorority members to get drugs
outside the Greek system.
Yet other sorority members,
especially Panhel representatives,
report never having seen illegal
drugs of any type at a Greek
function. They say that women in
sororities are too academically
oriented to do drugs on a regular
"If there is a problem, it is
being dealt with at a personal or
inner-house level," said Becky
Waltman, an LSA junior and
Panhel representative.
Waltman, a member of Delta
Gamma, said if there is any sort of
drug problem, it is sorority
members' excessive use of diet
But like the fraternity mem-
bers, most sorority members feel
that the drug problem, if it exists,
is not great enough to warrant
"Drugs are not an issue of
great concern. They have never
come up before Panhel board
meetings and there have never
been any complaints from within
or outside the system about drug
use," said Cyndi Mueller, an LSA
junior and member of Chi Omega.


Poole said that while one easy junior and member of Chi Omega.

Kelly sees alcohol as a much bigger problem in the
system and throughout the University. For that
reason, the IFC has concentrated most of its efforts
at cleaning up alcohol use in the system.

'Availability is huge. If it was not around, you
wouldn't do it. That's when you get 30 guys doing
shrooms at a party'_

Yet many Greeks not affiliated
with the IFC disagree and say
that the structure of fraternities
itself fosters drug use. Living
with dozens of one's best friends
and partying weekly with
hundreds more, members said,
invites drug use.
"Availability is huge. If it was
not around, you wouldn't do it.
That's when you get 30 guys,
doing shrooms at a party," said
Engineering senior Bill Gryzenia,
a member of Lambda Chi.
Fellow Lambda Chi member
and LSA senior Ken Ohler agreed.
"It's not like there's a network of
dealers, but it is easier to get drugs
through fraternities. By being in a
house you're automatically
connected to 60 or 70 guys," he
"I think a few morevdrugs are
done because they are very
accessible," said Ken Zweig, an
LSA junior and member of Chi
Phi. "If only one person in a house
is selling drugs, anyone can get a
hold of it."
And once accessibility meets
opportunity - in the form of
large parties - the temptation
can become irresistible.

"The basic reason for going
Greek is meet potential
boyfriends or girlfriends and to
party ... partying involves
drinking and drugs. When you go
to a party, it's all there," said
LSA senior Terry Mulligan, a
member of Zeta Psi.
Fellow Zeta Psi member, LSA
senior Rob Lynch, agreed. "There
is pretty heavy drug use because
people in the Greek system put
more emphasis on social life. The
result is more drinking and
drugs," he said.
Law enforcers:
Turning away
Unlike fraternity members,
local drug enforcement officials
do agree on at least one aspect of
drug use in fraternities: they
know very little about it.
Both the DEA and the Ann
Arbor police reported that they
Cover story by
Sarah Schweitzer

- Engineering senior Bill Gryzenia,
member of Lambda Chi

approach when dealing with
fraternities. In the face of
insurance companies' soaring
liability costs - the unwelcome
companion of responsibility -
the University has for many
years opted to leave monitoring of
fraternities to national fraternity
chapters and the Ann Arbor
The issue of drug abuse is no
exception to this unwritten rule.
Administrators strongly
maintain that they cannot act as
drug law enforcers.

the lack of administrative action.
"I wouldn't know a druggie
fraternity if you took me into
one," Assistant Vice President for
Student Services Eunice Royster-
Harper said.
Yet Royster-Harper feels no
personal responsibility for this
lack of information. She
maintains that it simply is not
characteristic of Michigan to be a
vigilante in anything, including
combatting drugs in the Greek
system. Instead, she prefers to
view the administration's stance


'The DEA is more concerned with drug movement in
Detroit. We have our hands more than full'
- Johnny Granados, enforcement agent and
public affairs officer at the DEA

marijuana, Granados said, "we
would take action."
While local Ann Arbor police
officials are not preoccupied with
combatting the massive drug
rings of Detroit like the DEA,
they too feel that drug use in
fraternities and the campus in
general is too low to warrant any
type of full-blown investigation.

How can University
administrators afford to take no
action? The answer is simple.
Fraternities on this campus are
legally separate from the
With no formal control over
the Greek system, University
officials have traditionally
chosen to take a hands-off

"We have a responsibility as
an educator to make clear that
drugs can ruin your life, but I'm
not sure we have a responsibility
as an enforcer," said Walter
Harrison, executive director for
University relations. "We can't
legislate. We can't make a law
that you can't smoke dope in the
Other University officials
agreed with Harrison, but added
that a lack of knowledge about
the extent of drug use in the
fraternities is a further reason for

as one of prevention and
Other administrators agree
with this approach and point to
the comprehensive drug and
alcohol policy, which a task force
has been developing since 1989, as
an example of a preventative
But the awkward,
autonomous relationship
between the University and the
Greek system blurs the degree to
which this policy can be enforced
in fraternities.


April 12, 1991


Page 8

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