Bill Frezza Explains Why He Wrote Controversial Forbes Column About Drunk Women

Empty beverage containers on a makeshift table in the courtyard of a Madison, Wisconsin fraternity house across from Badger s
Empty beverage containers on a makeshift table in the courtyard of a Madison, Wisconsin fraternity house across from Badger stadium on a football Saturday

Bill Frezza caught a lot of backlash two weeks ago when he wrote a column at Forbes titled "Drunk Female Guests Are The Gravest Threat To Fraternities."

Frezza, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, argued that fraternities should turn away drunk women because letting them in will lead to legal headaches for the brothers, deservedly or not. He stood by the article, even as Forbes deleted it and removed him as a contributor.

But over the weekend, Frezza explained why wrote what he did in a blog post on his own website, sharing his reaction to the backlash in a post titled "Why I So Passionately Fear Binge Drinking":

Last week, I came under heavy media attacks over my choice of rhetoric on a complex issue to which I sought to bring attention. The attacks were drawn not so much by my actual observations—with which many of my critics found some merit—but by the piece’s jarring title, startling photo, and male-centric perspective. It all ended up being misunderstood as blatant gender bias, overshadowing the important message.

Frezza said he wanted to write about the topic for a personal reason. Namely, that his son died in a drinking-related incident while in college. He has since started a scholarship in his son's honor.

"My son made a foolish risk-reward decision in an attempt to have some fun, a decision that ended his life and sent mine spinning out of control" Frezza wrote.

Today, as an adviser to a fraternity at MIT, Frezza said he shares the "responsibility for the well-being of 40 young men -- good kids, with no resemblance to the Animal House stereotype. And yet, whenever they host a party I go to bed terrified."

Frezza explained:

The reason I go to bed terrified is that our country’s drinking laws are misguided, counterproductive, and the source of serious unintended consequences. These laws have not and will not stop teenagers from drinking. To the contrary, these laws and the college regulations designed to enforce them have transformed drinking into a potentially deadly ritual. I have seen young men take multiple shots of whiskey without pause and 100-pound young women chug half a bottle of vodka (a practice called pre-gaming) while waiting in line for a party where they know they will not be served alcohol because they have not yet reached their 21st birthday. This is repeated nationwide, every week, everywhere and will continue as long as our misguided laws remain on the books.

But Frezza insisted the entire conversation about what to do about dangerous behaviors on campus is "smothered by a culture of political correctness that makes you want to scream":

So, I screamed. My progressively frantic attempts to focus on the real problem have exacted a high personal cost. The backlash has unintentionally damaged those around me, an unintended consequence for which I am deeply sorry. But if I can help save one student’s life, and one parent from the anguish I live with, it will have been worth it.