The University of Alabama confirmed mandating routine drug tests for fraternity members and says it will continue to do so.
“Though it’s not unheard of for fraternities to test members for drugs, this kind of mandatory, university-sponsored program is unusual,” Limberlost Consulting Inc. owner David Westol -- who works with fraternities nationwide on issues ranging from hazing to risk management -- told AL.com.
“I’ve heard about Alabama doing drug screening or drug testing of fraternities, but I’m not aware of any other university that’s gone to that point and using it to any great extent,” he added.
Fraternity leaders support the drug tests, stating they had already been testing members before the university stepped in.
"Being a fraternity, we just like to hold people to a higher standard,” said Clyde Yelverton, president of Sigma Nu’s University of Alabama chapter. “We were drug tested before with LabCorp and it was just inefficient and everyone could fake it ... Now it's a more advanced test."
Yelverton noted the drug tests so far have been “intense” but “effective.”
Other members of the fraternity disagree. Some find the rule unfair and complain it is also turning potential recruits off of joining the Greek system altogether.
"They're killing the fraternity from the inside without even knowing it. It's just a little too baby-sittinglike. We're 21, we're adults," said a current Alabama student who wished to remain anonymous.
The unidentified student says he left his fraternity after it announced it would be testing members’ hair for drugs.
"I didn't want, like, a fat bald spot where they f---ing shaved my head. You can feel it. It's like a little chunk of hair so they have enough samples because it has to be conclusive. It's got to be, like, three months' worth,” he said.
Former fraternity member James Blackwood contradicted Yelverton’s claims the tests were “effective”.
He confessed to Gawker that students were now using Xanax instead of other drugs as it flushes out of the system faster, making it hard to detect in tests.
“There’s this one fraternity … that started getting drug tested … They all went from just, you know, regular college guys to just zombies, all doing Xanax because they couldn’t smoke pot and stuff so it was the only thing they could do,” Blackwood said.