This year, male freshmen will have to wait a little bit longer for the free food and date nights of fraternity open rush.
After some back and forth, the Interfraternity Council complied with the Panhellenic Council’s requests to push back the official start date of IFC recruitment. The change was made to avoid overlap between fraternity open rush and sorority recruitment to prevent issues that have arisen in the past as a result of the timing. In past years, Fraternity Open Rush began as soon as freshmen returned to campus after winter break. Fraternity Open Rush will now begin Jan. 15, which is the Friday after freshmen return to campus.
The Panhellenic council urged the IFC to push back their rush dates in an attempt to prevent sorority members from interacting with female Potential New Members — students eligible to participate in recruitment — at a fraternity rush event in the presence of alcohol. For this reason, fraternities are not allowed to host any registered date nights between Jan. 17 and 21. Another new mandate from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life is that fraternities are prohibited from holding any events with Panhellenic members until 24 hours after they receive their bids.
One reason for the push-back was to reduce the social interaction between male and female PNMs.
During sorority rush, women briefly stand outside of the houses before the parties begin. In past years, Klein said, the male PNMs who are walking around between fraternity houses during the open rush process often expressed their opinions to the female PNMs about the sorority whose house they were about to enter.
“[Fraternity PNMs] have given their own personal input and that has swayed women’s opinion on the sorority,” IFC VP of Recruitment Dustin Klein, a College senior, said.
But pushing back the date of fraternity rush comes with its own consequences. The original schedule, which was published in late October, delayed fraternity rush six days instead of three. IFC open rush was going to start on Jan. 19. After the IFC received backlash and complaints from fraternity members, the delay was reduced to only three days.
Fraternities were mainly worried that this delay would create a six-day window where on-campus organizations would start to dirty rush PNMs. If one fraternity began the rush process before the official start date, the others will be feel pressured to do so in order to compete for PNMs.
“The chapters that do not have the capabilities of keeping up with them will lose a lot of PNMs, and we thought that would be very unfair to them,” Klein said.
On-campus organizations would also be motivated to begin rush before the official start date to compete with unrecognized organizations and do not have to abide by the mandates of OFSL. If the delay was upheld, unaffiliated organizations could potentially conduct rush and assign bids even before the official rush process began.
Fraternities were also concerned that, as a result of this delay, rush would begin inconveniently late and interfere with their plans. Organizations usually begin to plan for rush by renting out venues at the end of May.
Unlike past years, IFC rush now overlaps with Martin Luther King Day. All fraternities are prohibited from holding any events on the holiday.
“All of our recruitment chairs met and we were told by IFC that Martin Luther King Day was off-limits because of racial tensions,” one fraternity recruitment chair, who wished to remain anonymous because he feared backlash from IFC and OFSL, said. “Not sure what the background behind that is but that’s what we were told."
But OFSL and Klein maintained that this restriction was put in place to promote observance of the holiday.
In another attempt to rectify this issue, the IFC changed the structure of recruitment. Instead of the free-for-all that open rush was in the past, it is now a block system where male PNMs can only visit designated fraternities at established times. Fraternities that are located on Locust Walk will conduct their rush events first because there are no sorority houses on this street. This schedule seeks to reduce geographic overlap between male and female PNMs.
For fraternity members, this push back is still a large inconvenience. But the IFC and OFSL recognizes the delay as necessary.
“In the end, we had to do something to accommodate Panhellenic’s requests — we wanted to help them out as much as possible,” Klein said.
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