Despite the widespread student and administrative backlash to the OZ email controversy last semester, many freshmen intending to rush fraternities and sororities this spring say the incident has not impacted their decision to participate in Greek life. Fraternity recruitment numbers have even doubled, according to the outgoing Interfraternity Council President.
At the start of the academic year, OZ, an off-campus organization, became the subject of campus-wide and national attention after the group sent an email to a listserv of freshmen girls. The email was addressed to “ladies” and included lines like “We’re looking for the fun ones / And say f**k off to a tease.”
College freshman Alexander Gonzalez, who is considering rushing, said his decision was not influenced by the email scandal.
“Yes, it was bad, but I know that most other frats are respectable and just because they did it doesn’t mean all the others are the same as them,” Gonzalez said.
Outgoing IFC president and Wharton senior David Moore expressed optimism about the process, noting that IFC has had at least twice as many students sign up for recruitment.
“Whether the greater interest in rush is a direct result of the University’s stronger stance against off-campus groups or greater interest in rushing fraternities in general, I really can’t say,” he said.
The administration sent an email to students, faculty and staff in November after the outing of the OZ email that announced the creation of a task force to address the “negative influence of unaffiliated and unsupervised groups.”
One Wharton freshman, who requested anonymity because she doesn’t want her comments to impact her recruitment process, was disturbed by the social attitudes suggested by the OZ email and what she saw as the University’s vague response.
“I think what’s more disturbing though is how powerless the administration seems to be given their reaction to the incident, which is probably a testament to how protected and privileged these organizations are,” the student said.
Members of OZ have not responded to repeated requests for comment.
Panhellenic Council Vice President of Recruitment and Nursing senior Taryn Pochon felt that greater administrative involvement in Greek life would help address issues like the OZ email more effectively in the future.
“Our team and the Interfraternity Council team would love to get on board with educating administration with how our system works and what our system values,” she said.
However, College sophomore Abby McGuckin suggested that a “bottom-up” approach would be more effective to prevent such incidents from recurring. McGuckin is a member of the off-campus group OAX and a founding member of We Are Watching, the feminist art collective that originally protested the email.
“There is only so much the University can do.” McGuckin said “There needs to be a cultural shift that alters the way men view women.”
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