jrcsmom - Sororities give bids after a week or two of parties and interviews, then the women go through pledgeship before being initiated.
Fraternities give bids to men after they meet them at parties and/or retreats. This process is not as structured as the sorority process but in my opinion it does allow the potential new members and the fraternity members to get a better sense of whether they will fit in.
Once a bid is given sorority and fraternity potential new members go through pledgeship before they are initiated.
My daughter has many friends who dropped out of their sororities during the pledgeship period because they realized that they didn't like the women in their house. Perhaps if they had been able to go to parties and/or retreats and have more in depth conversations with the members it would have turned our differently for them, who knows?
While the process for fraternity and sorority recruitment is different in some respects it is very much the same in other ways. Ultimately, the men and women choose each other and they go through pledgeship before initiation. I don't think that anything would change if the fraternities did the same thing that sororities do.
I am the parent of a prospective UA student who will be applying next year. There is a 90% chance we will find ourselves without in-state privileges in any state due to job change, so focusing on universities where my son will receive merit aid to ensure both a solid AND affordable education is our primary focus. We are obviously scrutinizing all of the possible contenders. I have stayed in the background for the most part, however reading, since my older son considered UA two years ago. Discount my thoughts if you wish as an outsider, but please know these are things prospective parents and students pay attention to.
Both my husband and I were greek. In fact DH was greek in a school in the deep south in the 80's so we are no stranger to traditions, as well as the distinct line between what is bonding, what is hazing, and what has become the politically correct idea that any act of cleaning up after a party, etc., is now thought by many to be unacceptable. These are things that today's universities have to navigate in deciding how to guide their Greek Communities.
I appreciate that the letter from UA to parents was posted here. It is helpful to know they are an active participant.
Quite honestly, what is not helpful are comments such as, and support of, the following:
Originally Posted by SEA_tide
...not to mention the prospect of alcohol and a cooler personalized for them by one of said smart, attractive women.
You've got to be kidding me. I am aware that this takes place, but for a parent to quote this as a selling feature of Greek Life at UA, along side with lower costs of housing (which is legitimate) is honestly disturbing to me. If I am misreading this please point it out. I would like to know if the prevailing attitude of parents is this is no big deal, even a benefit to young men within the Greek system. I am NOT trying to be antagonistic, but it is important for me to understand what the social norms are. We are planning the deep south college sweep in late march and I'm sure we'll enjoy a great tour, learn much about the school, but I doubt this is the type of thing that will come up.
Blueiguana, Sea_tide is a student at UA, and living the experience there right now.
Where I understand your position that it should not be a selling feature, it is also no secret that this is one of the things that students think about. Sea_tide was just putting that reality out there for everyone to consider.
I love the fact that we have students that post on this page, especially Sea_tide, a frequent poster, who has been able to fill in many blanks because he is feet on the ground, so to speak!
blueiguana - SEA_tide is a student and I don't think he was promoting coolers as a selling point, I think he was being a bit sarcastic, rightly so.
As a parent I am realistic about what happens in college, whether or not a student is in the Greek system. I went to college in the 80's and I did the same thing that students are doing today and I wasn't Greek. That doesn't mean that I condone bad behavior, in fact, I would be happy if my kids abstained from things that could get them into physical, emotional, or legal trouble. I have drilled moderation and responsibility into my kids heads ad-nauseum (according to them), and I can only hope that some of my preaching sticks.
For all of the students and parents who are considering UA and are getting spooked by this thread please don't think that this is the norm. We are from the Chicago area and trust me, the Big 10 schools are no different. My son LOVES UA and is thriving. He is doing better academically than he ever did in high school, he has met some wonderful friends, he's maturing before our very ears (can't see him, can only hear it in his voice), and is happy. What more could a parent ask for.
Greek life isn't for everyone. It doesn't define UA and not going Greek won't make or break the UA experience. Just know that if they choose to go Greek it is not all about getting drunk every night of the week, behaving badly, and turning into an arrogant "conformer" as some who haven't had any experience with Greek life would have you think.
Truthfully I think that the new president has had a knee jerk reaction to some isolated incidents, just my opinion.
vlines - Thank you very much for pointing out that SEA_tide is a student. I asked, and sincerely meant, for someone to point out if I was misreading. I was. Context is everything, including the author of what you are reading. I too enjoy when students enter into the discussions sometimes dominated by adults. They offer a fresh view that sometimes we cannot get otherwise. This puts the post in perfect context, and something I would entirely expect to hear/read from a young person in Greek life without much hesitation.
I sincerely hope everyone can understand my concern if this was a statement coming from a parent, and my desire to understand. Again, vlines, thank you for taking the times to kindly point this out to me.
edit to add: lovemykids2 - We crossed posts, thank you as well for pointing this out, as above, with this context I now understand. I too am realistic about certain aspects of college life. I currently have a second year student at a university in Virginia, so am living the accept some things, but don't condone. It works well to keep lines of communication open.
Last edited by blueiguana; 10-19-2012 at 12:36 PM.
This puts the post in perfect context, and something I would entirely expect to hear/read from a young person in Greek life without much hesitation.
FYI, SEA_tide is not Greek. I truly understand anyone's concerns and only wish to reiterate that my son's Greek experience at UA has been the antithesis of the Animal House stereotype. In fact, he just participated in an interview for an internship with a large corporation. The interviewer asked him what he thought was the most important thing on his resume from a job perspective. My son mulled over the possibilities: NMF, 4.0 GPA, double major, blah, blah, blah and selected one.
Nope, said the interviewer, who then identified his position as head of recruiting for his fraternity as the most important item on his resume.
The press release from UA was sent to parents, students, Crimson White, and Tuscaloosa news. Below is the press release:
Based on calls that have come into the hazing hotline in the last week, The University of Alabama has investigated several IFC fraternities who were accused of hazing incidents. UA appreciates the full cooperation, support and assistance of the fraternities, their national organizations and their chapter advisors.
As a result of these investigations, UA has taken the following actions:
· UA has issued interim suspensions to one former member of Pi Kappa Alpha and two active members who engaged in hazing activities at an off-campus location. Students may not attend classes or participate in University activities until they have appeared before Judicial Affairs and a decision is made on whether they can be reinstated and return to campus.
· UA has revoked Pi Kappa Alpha’s Student Organization Seating for the rest of this football season. Judicial Affairs is looking into sanctions for the chapter and additional penalties for other members, and the chapter will lose social privileges for Fall semester. As our investigations move forward, additional sanctions, consequences and penalties could be levied against these individuals and the chapter. If additional details reveal that criminal offenses were committed, the individuals will be referred to appropriate law enforcement officials.
· After being notified by UA about hazing allegations, the local chapter advisory board for Delta Tau Delta has suspended all pledge programs and social activities indefinitely. UA has referred Delta Tau Delta to Judicial Affairs. UA has revoked Delta Tau Delta’s Student Organization Seating for the rest of this football season.
· UA has ended all IFC pledgeship activities as of 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18. Greek Affairs, Judicial Affairs and/or UAPD will conduct a thorough and comprehensive review of all IFC fraternities on campus. As vague and non-specific allegations continue to circulate, UA is working diligently and carefully to clearly separate rumors from actual incidents and appropriately identify the individuals involved, so that those who are responsible for hazing activities can be held accountable for their behavior and decisions.
· During the last week, UA has received confidential and specific allegations via the hotline involving Phi Gamma Delta, Chi Phi, Sigma Nu, Kappa Alpha Order, Kappa Sigma, Pi Kappa Phi and Zeta Beta Tau. After investigating, Greek Affairs and Judicial Affairs have cleared Phi Gamma Delta, Sigma Nu, Kappa Alpha Order, Kappa Sigma, Pi Kappa Phi and Zeta Beta Tau.
· UA has also received a complaint about Theta Chi, and will begin that investigation immediately.
· The national organizations for Chi Phi and Pi Kappa Alpha have issued cease and desist communications to the local chapters and have indicated they will also conduct their own investigations.
The University of Alabama takes allegations and incidents of hazing very seriously. Students who are the victims of or who become aware of hazing incidents are strongly encouraged to bring these incidents to our attention. The hazing and harassment hotline is monitored daily by members of the Student Affairs staff. Calls to the hazing hotline are confidential and are referred to Judicial Affairs and/or UAPD for investigation. To ensure a successful investigation, callers should provide specific information including names of organizations, times and locations. Self-reporting mechanisms are available to chapters who uncover acts of hazing by their members. The University will not tolerate hazing on- or off-campus, and will respond aggressively on behalf of any student who feels he/she is subject to acts of retaliation for reporting a hazing incident.
The safety and well-being of our students is a top priority for UA. Our ability to stop hazing depends on a partnership between the University, the members, leadership and alumni of local chapters, parents and the national organizations.
I am an alum of one of those Big 10 schools and I know the only time in my life that I have over-consumed by A LOT was sitting in a dorm room of our 'dry' campus.
But I'm not certain it was a knee-jerk reaction in today's particulary litigious society. The Crimson White reports that several students have already been hospitalized this school year of alcohol poisoning and although not unique to UA or to the Greek system, I'm certain the administration is hearing questions from parents like, "How did *you* allow this to happen?", "Who is responsible (because it couldn't possibly be my child's fault)?", "Why weren't your rules being enforced?" and an implied "Why was there no one babysitting my child who is now a legal adult?" They have to act in whatever manner they deem necessary to protect their interests. How many of those parents are currently contemplating hiring attorneys to hold responsibile the Greek houses or the university for allowing their children to be put at risk?
It almost makes me wish they'd lower the drinkiing age by a few years so kids could get some of the experimentation out of their systems before transitioning to a new environment with new freedoms...
First off, I abhor hazing. Listening to people attempt to defend it hurts my soul a little bit. There is literally no reason that you have to "teach" individuals in this manner, because that is not how we learn in a classroom or at a business or at church and so on. Individuals who pledge a fraternity sign up for an experience, not for hazing, or anything else. And anyone who goes through hazing and then perpetuates it himself is guilty tenfold.
Second, I am very optimistic about the changes this will make at UA. It is my hope that national organizations and local alumni groups wake up to the issues here and make appropriate alterations. It is significantly more difficult to plan a meaningful development program (trust me, I know about that one) than to beat the living snot out of your newest, vulnerable members. And yet in many fraternities, those pledges turn around and resent their actives, and the potential from that human capital is simply wasted.
I love being a SigEp and I am proud that we do not have a pledge model program here at Bama and that we treat our new members with love and respect. I try to explain to our new members that our chapter functions as an upside-down pyramid, with the Executive Board supporting the older members in planning events, the older members supporting the new members with mentoring, designated driving, and other things, and the new members trying to work their way down the pyramid by taking on responsibility and gaining respect not because of age but because of what they accomplish inside and outside our chapter. SEA_Tide mentioned ropes courses that we do, and we have other (positive) brotherhood activities we try to include frequently to explain how Virtue, Diligence, and Brotherly Love work in progress.
That means no dress code, equal rights and responsibilities, and a good time for all, and the moment any member steps out of line they get sent to our Standards Board, not hazed. It's absolutely amazing what you can accomplish when you hold yourself to a higher standard. I hope the Greek system stops flaunting their values and starts acting them.
jrcsmom - DH and I attended the number one party school in the Big 10 back in our day and I can count on two fingers the number of times I over-consumed. The drinking age was 18 back then so pre-gaming didn't exist. We went to DHs fraternity or to the bars and drank cheap beer because it was all we could afford. Neither one of us recall hearing about our peers going to the hospital because of alcohol poisoning. I'm sure it happened but I don't believe to the extent that it does today. Like you, I think that drinking age should be lowered.
In regards to alleged hazing incidents it's hard to imagine that this year is worse than previous years. Perhaps it's a liability issue and in that case I'd agree that the university needs to protect itself. My problem with the situation is that three out of 27(?) fraternities have been sanctioned, one is under investigation, and six of seven others who were investigated were cleared. What where the claims against the houses? My son called me after Family Weekend and asked if I had complained to his fraternities national headquarters because he didn't get to spend enough time with me. I was shocked to learn that some of the parents of his pledge brothers had done something like that. They clearly didn't understand the pledge process. I told my son that I was actually impressed that we were able to spend the amount of time that we did with him because of pledgeship.
My stance on this situation is this. If dangerous hazing took place then those houses should be punished. The university should submit a list of what is not acceptable during pledgeship, maybe they have, I don't know. If the rules are broken then there should be serious consequences. At this point I don't believe that suspending pledgeship for all of the houses was necessary. If I find out that I am wrong then I'll have no problem admitting it.
pretzeldude - No one is defending hazing. Like I wrote in the above, my husband told my son to walk away from any house that would ask him to submit to hazing activities.
I'm happy to learn that the SigEp house holds there pledges in such high regard. That's how it's supposed to be. Unfortunately, that isn't how it is in some houses and it varies by campus. My husband's fraternity (one of the largest nationally) has had some major problems in the last ten years on certain campuses. They just revoked the charters of two in the past year. It hurts my husband's and his brother's souls to see the youngsters doing things that go against the fraternities standards. The good news is that when national heard about the problems they worked with the universities and did what was best for the school, it didn't trickle down to innocent houses.
I don't know what the big deal is about the dress code. You and SEA_tide seem to have a problem with it. Personally I loved seeing the fraternity men dressed in pressed khakis, polo shirts or oxford shirts, and navy blazers on game day. I would have loved it if my DH had dressed that well in college
so.....I have sat on my hands for the past two days. I know can't do it any longer. As many of you know I am actively involved in helping young women go through the recruitment process at UA. My DD is VP of her sorority and Property manager. Her sorority is one of the ones building a new house. She has been actively involved in the process since she was allowed to turn the first shovel full of dirt over. This experience is invaluable and will be a stand out on her resume.
Sorority pledgeship starts the day the young women open their bids in the football stadium and ends with initiation. Initiation is determined by each of their National GLO's and happen during a variety of weekends (usually an away game weekend) in the Fall with one house not initiating until January. During the time they are pledges the young women attend New Member meetings once a week (usually on Mondays) where they learn the history, traditions and rituals of their sorority. These meetings also help to bond the pledge class. Bonding is very important as one day these girls will be the leaders of their respective houses. If this bonding doesn't occur then it can affect recruitment and viability of that particular house. In addition the new members are also required to attend Panhellenic Speakers. These speakers offer a variety of important information about making good choices as well as careers and personal development. During DD's freshmen year Beth Holloway spoke. DD said she will remember her words for a very long time.
Although the process of Fraternity and sorority pledgeship is different, the purpose is the same....to bond and unite this particular group of individuals so that they will step up into leadership roles and keep the GLO viable and successful. It isn't meant to be easy. I do not agree with hazing, mental or physical harm to an individual in way shape or manner. But I do think that individuals that join a GLO whether it be a fraternity or a sorority need to understand that this is a personal investment..not just 4 years of a social life. I think that's hard for young people. They see Greek Life as an avenue to a ready made group of friends..and it is but it is so much more. In addition sometime parents don't understand this concept as well.
So when it comes to pledge gear...dressing the same, the point is that this group of young men are pledged to be brothers...no one better than the other but a cohesive group (think of it like when our children wear uniforms to school). Different fraternities have different pledge gear because it shows that they are joined as one group...like when different schools have different uniforms.
The same goes for the "expectations" of the pledges. Different fraternities have different expectations. Many of those expectations are outlined in manual that come from their National GLOs and have evolved through years of history and tradition. How those expectations are taught is interpreted but the leadership within the fraternity and sometimes alums also help. It's sometimes in these interpretations that things can become a little hazy (oh my.. pardon the pun).
My point is that parents who call and complain because they didn't get to spend enough time on Parents Weekend with DS don't understand the process and in fact if they are complaining they are making it much more difficult on their son. Please be informed parents, ask questions....understand that you and your son are not being punished by the process.
When DD's boyfriend was a pledge I lived the process through phone calls with DD, her sweet boy and his family. Sleepless nights, having to be at the house at odd hours, cleaning, yard work, driving actives around, wall sits, guarding the fire alarm, being a DD, supplying food at games ect were all part of the process. He knew that , we knew that and through many different conversations with his parents, they understood as well. It was a process...he knew there was going to be an end and he persevered. He chose to do this. He understood and wanted this brotherhood.
After he was initiated he went for a job interview. The man who interviewed him was an alum of his fraternity. When he was here last weekend for the Mizzou game two Alabama fans stopped by our tailgate. One was an alum of his fraternity..there were secret handshakes and then the exchanging of information and I just found out today that the alum maybe securing DD's boyfriend an internship this summer.....all because they were fraternity brothers....connections.
I would agree with the statement that perhaps the administration has had a knee jerk reaction to all of this. When Gentry left last year it was made known through the Greek Life Office that there would be changes for both fraternities and sororities. We have seen those changes take place in several areas and I think that there is a message being sent here. Just as ABC sat out side fraternities and cracked down on underage drinking for a while last Fall I think that you will see fraternities comply and hopefully by Spring the situation will be re-evaluated.
What I would suggest to any incoming students and their parents is to do some research on Greek Life, what to expect and how the process works. There are many of us who post here frequently that have ties to the GLOs at Alabama. I speak not for myself but I am sure for others that we would be very happy to chat with anyone about the process of pledgeship and if we can't answer your questions that we are more than willing to help you find the answers you are looking for.
One final thing on drinking. It happens...it happens at colleges across the US. Both my husband and I were Greek at our respective universities and yes..we drank..sometimes too much and irresponsibly. Underage drinking occurred then and it occurs now. With our 4 children we have always adopted the policy of honesty and I am pleased to say minus a few small blips it has worked well. We shared out respective college drinking experiences with our children, sighting them as learning experiences.
When DD announced that she was going to Alabama and would be going through recruitment we knew she would drink. She wasn't a huge party girl in high school but she went to few now and then. The parents in our community all banded together and if you had kids at your house and you suspected alcohol you simply took the car keys, locked them in the freezer..no one left, phone calls to parents were made and the kids spent the night.
So...before she went to school we practiced. I knew from past experience with the other 3 that if she knew what to expect when she drank, her limits and how alcohol affected her then our chances of having a negative experience were going to be less...plus I would be there to help her is she needed help. We are 4 for 4 on this method...and my daughter thanked me for this. Did she drink at fraternity parties when she was a pledge..yes...but for the most part she was in control and understood the consequences. I think she was prepared.
This is a tough situation all the way around. I applaud UA for keeping on top of the situation, I am sad that pledgeship was suspended and that the bonding process was incomplete. I hope that parents will understand that just because these young men will be initiated, that the process of initiation itself has components that they might take issue with. The process is a rite of passage.
I know many of us are anxious to see where this leads.