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Risk Management & Fire Safety University of Illinois April 20, 2002
Dr. Ron Binder Vice President of Gilchrist Alumni Management Associates Former Director of Greek Affairs, UNC Chapel Hill, 19942000 Former Greek Advisor for the University of Georgia, 19861994 Past Chair of the Risk Management Committee for the Association of Fraternity Advisors Consulted at over 70 Colleges & Universities House Dad for Lambda Chi Alpha & Phi Gamma Delta Member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity Currently on Sig Ep Alumni Boards at UT & Michigan) Chair the Greek Life Advisory Committee at UT & BGSU
Risk Management for Greeks 20 years ago no one heard of risk management We live in a litigious society 3 ways of getting rich today n n n inherit your money hit the lottery sue someone Real Reason More people are getting seriously injured or killed in Greek related activities
Top 20 Uninsurable Entities 1. Bars 2. Liquor stores 3. Child Care Centers 4. Asbestos Contractors 5. Hazardous Waste Disposal Companies 6. Fraternities & Sororities 7. Engineers 8. Doctors 9. Lawyers 10. Accountants 11. Manufacturers 12. Small Businesses 13. Non-Profit Entities 14. Architects 15. Nurse-Midwives 16. Cities 17. State Governments 18. School Districts 19. Fire Districts 20. Ice Rinks
Where are the Cases Found? 85% involve alcohol abuse (not use) Over half of sexual assaults involve alcohol 95% of hazing incidents involve alcohol n hazing suits tend to be the most costly 86% of all serious injuries involve alcohol 96% of all falls from roofs involve alcohol More suits occur in the Fall than Spring 56% of the time we are sued by our own members!
Alcohol Use vs. Alcohol Abuse Moderate drinking causes little problems The more alcohol consumed, the more problems Binge drinking is defined as having 5 or more drinks in one night, during the last 2 weeks For women, the limit is 4 National Undergrad Binge Drinking Results Non-Greeks = 45% Athletes & Greeks = 75%
Risk Management Principles Identify What is Risky Behavior Has someone gotten hurt? w Whitlock v Denver w Beta @ UNC Does it violate a policy? Does it violate a law? w Most policies or laws are the result of someone getting killed w Delta Tau Delta’s hazing policy
Criminal Liability That which is illegal, either state or federal n n n hazing providing alcohol (kegs, bars, etc. ) providing alcohol to those noticeably intoxicated fights using and dealing drugs w Operation Equanox at UVA
Civil Liability Being sued by anyone n n n injured party parents friends Results in judgement for damages 56% of the time we are sued by our own members! Largest lawsuit ever settled against a fraternity? $21 million (KA @ U. of Texas)!
Liability Insurance Most chapters have at least $1 million insurance policies (some $2 million) Need insurance to protect volunteer advisors and chapter assets (mostly housing) Average sorority member pays $50/member Average fraternity member pays $100/member Highest rate is $150/member Do your members know how much they are paying for liability insurance?
Liability Insurance Policies do not cover the following: Anything illegal w hazing w providing alcohol (kegs, bars, etc. ) n Anything against your national policy w hazing w providing alcohol (kegs, bars, etc. ) w open parties Those violating their national policies have their premiums increased dramatically n Sigma Phi Epsilon: $1, 500 increase
Illinois Hazing Policy Standard definition used by all nationals Regardless of the willingness of the participant 1. Forced consumption of alcohol 2. Calisthenics, runs, push-ups, etc. 2. Paddling 3. Line-Ups 4. Road Trips 5. Running Personal Errands of the Members
A Better Definition of Hazing To determine if it’s hazing, ask the following: 1. Would you tell prospective members? 2. Would you tell your National? 3. Would you tell the Dean? 4. Would you tell your parents? 5. Would you be willing to have your new members interviewed? If you hesitate, it’s probably hazing
Illinois Alcohol Policy Most all groups are FIPG: prohibits the following: Common-source containers (kegs, bars, etc. ) All events are BYOB Purchasing alcohol with chapter funds n n cans = kegs (Penn State) alcohol in beer machines (Chi Psi @ UGA) Alcohol-free recruitment (alcohol @ Career Office) No alcohol at new member functions
Riskiest Event of the Year I: Big Brother/Big Sister Night When new members receive big brother/sister Most common gift is alcohol! What message does this send? Sig Ep @ UGA n n n Big brother gives little a fifth Never said “if you don’t drink you won’t be a Sig Ep” Let’s have a drink to this, to that, to the founders (12) Consumed a fifth in one hour Peaked out at 0. 300 BAC at the hospital
Riskiest Event of the Year II: st Birthday Member’s 21 Rite of passage in America Heavy drinking of hard liquor n 23 shots is the mythical record Group behavior n n Phi Delt @ Chico State Michigan State Where are our brothers/sisters when this is happening
Open Parties All groups adopted this policy Doors are to be monitored No flyers (Va. Tech) Groups must approve who is admitted Once admitted, chapter is responsible for the individual Events are for members & invited guests only
What is a Chapter Event? Events held at a chapter house or in the Union are clearly a chapter event Formals are clearly a chapter event Other events? 1. Who paid for the event? 2. How was it advertised? 3. What % of members were present? n n All national policies are much stricter SPE & Chi O @ UGA, SN & Pi Phi @ Mercer
“Official” & “Unofficial” No such thing! Courts view each event on its own merit Duck Theory: n if it walks like a duck & sounds like a duck, then it’s a duck Sig Ep @ Duke Pi Kap @ Radford
Recent Court Cases $21 million, U. of Texas $40 million, U. of Texas $22 million UVA $1. 65 million KA $900, 000 settlement, ATO $900, 000 settlement, Omega Psi Phi Kappa Alpha Psi @ UGA @ South Eastern Missouri State
Recent Greek Fires June 8, 2000: Kappa Sigma fraternity, Decatur, Ill. , one March 19, 2000: Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, Bloomsburg, Pa. , three May 8, 1999: Sigma Chi fraternity, Columbia, Mo. , one Feb. 16, 1999: Omega Beta Psi fraternity, Geneseo, N. Y. , one Feb. 13, 1999: Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, Rolla, Mo. , one Oct. 19, 1996: Phi Delta Theta fraternity, Delaware, Ohio, one May 12, 1996: Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, Chapel Hill, N. C. , five Oct. 21, 1994: Beta Sigma Delta fraternity, Bloomsburg, Pa. , five Oct. 24, 1993: Alpha Xi Delta sorority, La Crosse, Wis. , one Feb. 13, 1992: Phi Kappa Theta fraternity, California, Pa. , one Dec. 8, 1990: Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, Erie, Pa. , one Sept. 8, 1990: Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, Berkeley, Calif. , three
UNC Phi Gam Fire 5 students killed on Mother’s Day fire after a party House passed recent inspection n Code did not require anything beyond smoke detectors Fire spread in about 15 minutes n Followed the staircase up through the house 2 students didn’t make it out of their beds Ushered in sweeping reforms Required sprinklers in all Greek houses in 5 years
Myths of Fire Safety Fires are pretty rare today Fire kills Concrete facilities stop fires Fire alarms get people out Sorority houses don’t need alarms or sprinklers since they are cleaner Alarms save people, sprinklers save property All sprinkler heads go off during a fire Sprinkler heads are easily damaged Sprinkler systems cost over $100, 000
Sprinkler Ordinance Greek Affairs lobbied the town to require this Limited opportunity: human nature diminishes tragedy All Greek houses and new multi-dwellings 5 year window to install Houses closed if not sprinkled UGA facing similar ordinance Pennsylvania contemplating similar rule Seton Hall dorm fire pushing NJ & Nation
Issues with Sprinklers Cost averaged $50, 000 How much are pipes hidden determines cost n n Common areas or whole house Will never go back so it is a one-time decision Require new water lines n Possible tap fees & recurring water fees Takes 10 weeks to install: summer only option New fire alarm systems installed
Costs & Fundraising Average system costs $50, 000 Break on house insurance National programs: Lambda Chi Alpha Relatively easy item to ask alumni to fund Parents a key ally and source of funds Ushers in other fundraising n UNC: over $10 million
Overall Fire Safety Program Selecting fire marshal n Outlining duties clearly Regular, unannounced fire drills Regular fire inspections High interaction with town fire dept. n The more interaction between Greeks and Fire Dept. the better! Long-term plan for fire safety & sprinklers Cleanliness program Continual education: students think they are invincible!
Advisor’s Liability Know your national policies Know Illinois’s policies Act as the conscience of the chapter Stop behavior that is illegal, against policy or can potentially hurt someone If you take part in problem situations you can be liable If you practice good common sense you will be fine Do the right thing
Disciplining Members Follow your national & local by-laws Create a standards committee to handle Put things in writing (verbal doesn’t cut it) Be creative in sanctions Keep records Stop the little things and you will never get to the big things Don’t hesitate to remove members who won’t abide by the rule
Risk Management Strategies Give members copies of your national policies Give members copies of Illinois’s policies Talk about risk management at each meeting Bring in speakers to reinforce the message Forward stories on the internet to the chapter n Check out this site for fire safety: greeks. unc. edu/fire. html Make sure your leaders attend leadership schools Don’t be afraid to intervene (like being a parent) Do what your Ritual tells you to do