Recent incidents alleging alcohol abuse, sexual assault and other bad behaviors at college fraternities have drawn national attention. Much of the discussion has focused on causes and prevention, but with litigation inevitable in some of these incidents, questions of liability are sure to arise.
Individuals directly involved in such incidents face potential liability, but claims can also extend to the local and national fraternity organizations, to the universities and colleges with which they are affiliated, and even to the local chapters’ officers and their families.
The local and national fraternities may face liability for incidents that occur during fraternity events, especially on fraternity premises. Most local chapters have liability coverage purchased by their national organizations through a handful of companies that specialize in insuring fraternities and sororities.
The entire local chapter, its undergraduates and local alumni, the international/national organizations, and the College can be named in a lawsuit.
Everyone can be held accountable. Each chapter member, by his or her actions and attitude, is responsible for members and guests. Therefore, it is required for fraternities and sororities at that each chapter must have liability insurance coverage with adequate limits for personal injury in place prior to hosting any chapter events.