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OU president reluctant to ban alcohol

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Just more than a week after the alcohol-related death of a University of Oklahoma student, OU President David Boren is reluctant to ban alcohol from fraternities.

Boren said banning alcohol from the organizations could mean just moving the problem somewhere else.

Norman police are investigating the death of Sigma Chi pledge Blake Hammontree, 19, whose body was found last Thursday at the fraternity house.

The state Medical Examiner's office said Hammontree's blood-alcohol content was .42, more than five times the amount considered legally intoxicated.

Boren said he wonders whether banning alcohol from fraternities would cause more students to drive when they shouldn't. Students would be drinking in private residences or going to such places as Bricktown in Oklahoma City, then driving _ possibly drunk _ back to the fraternity houses, he said.

Boren said it is possible that the annual fall rush for initiation into fraternities and sororities should be moved to several weeks after school starts, to the second semester or even to the sophomore year.

``Any freshman is so anxious to fit in, to be accepted; they are more susceptible to peer pressure than if they have been at the university for a while,'' he said.

Although OU fraternities are off campus on private property, the university has some control over them because it can suspend them from being a part of campus life.

When problems arose at Sigma Chi, Boren immediately suspended the fraternity and announced it would be shut down. He also formed an 18-member committee to investigate the problem and propose reforms.

``Obviously, we are going to come down on the side of how best to control underage drinking _ hopefully stop it or minimize it as much as possible,'' he said.

The death of the OU student death was the fourth on a college campus after two died in Colorado and another in Virginia.
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