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Schools with "harsh" fraternity and/or sorority systems or those with disagreeable practices

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Replies to: Schools with "harsh" fraternity and/or sorority systems or those with disagreeable practices

  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8758 replies322 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    @Hanna wrote:
    women must go to every event they are invited to at every house or they will be removed from the process. They have to give everyone a chance and vice versa.

    Women have to attend every event at every house that exists or every house where they express an initial interest? If it's true that men get to choose which houses to visit and women have to visit all of them, I'd refuse to participate. In my opinion, it's discriminatory to hold women to a more restrictive standard than the men.


    At the University of South Florida sorority recruitment doesn't seem to be mandatory beyond the first day.
    The Panhellenic Formal Recruitment experience at USF lasts one week at the beginning of the Fall semester. There are four days in which women get the opportunity to meet with the chapters. On Spirit Day, the first day of the recruitment process, women will visit every sorority. As Recruitment continues through the second, third, and fourth days, through a mutual selection process, women narrow their choices in finding their ideal home.


    Washington State University sororities hold informal recruitments in the fall and spring.
    For women who did not join a chapter during formal recruitment there are additional opportunities to participate in recruitment activities during the year. Some of the chapters on campus participate in Informal Recruitment during the fall and spring semesters. During Informal Recruitment women attend recruitment events at individual chapters and have the opportunity to join those chapters seeking new members.
    edited April 2016
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22451 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Pragmatic mom, many schools include rush information in the orientation material or on a website under Greek life. There are posters in the dorms, sometimes there are tables set up with other campus activities. Like other clubs one is interested in, the student needs to be aware and search. At schools like Alabama, where the students have to arrive early and dedicate a week to rush, they send information to the freshmen by mail in the spring. Somehow 2500 girls find out and register for rush week.

    Very few houses are big enough to house the entire sorority, if the school even has a house. Freshmen almost always stay living in their dorms (although may eat at the house). Officers and sophomores tend to live in the houses, and others if there is room. Even those huge southern sorority house tend to sleep about 75-100, and the active membership can be 300+. Often juniors are on a study abroad program.
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  • shravasshravas 1992 replies64 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'm very happy to see this thread being started, and I wish I had the information here before going to college. Someone earlier mentioned reasons why some schools do not have delayed rush, which is the case at MIT. In addition to hoping that students aren't tainted by stereotypes, there is a concern that numbers would go down if rush happened later. Currently rush is the first week of school, and it's mostly freshman that participate.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 37844 replies2065 postsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    A girl on my freshman dorm hall went through rush at UT-Austin. When she didn't get into the sorority she wanted, she dropped out of school. :( My roommate got into Chi Omega. She had to do so many ridiculous things! I was really glad I didn't rush.
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  • cobratcobrat 12207 replies78 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Someone earlier mentioned reasons why some schools do not have delayed rush, which is the case at MIT. In addition to hoping that students aren't tainted by stereotypes, there is a concern that numbers would go down if rush happened later.

    The concern about numbers going down doesn't seem to jibe with several MIT friends' experience with fraternities or my own observations. They were so popular that many students who otherwise would have never considered joining joined at MIT.

    One factor for the popularity was because getting into a fraternity was a good way to get guaranteed housing as an upperclassman as on-campus housing as there was a shortage of on-campus housing for upper-classmen and rising real estate prices in the surrounding area made getting a off-campus apartment an increasingly unaffordable option.
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  • prezbuckyprezbucky 4320 replies11 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    At schools where Greek life is not very popular (like UW-Madison), some fraternities and sororities have to work really hard to attract enough members and would not exclude anyone of good character.

    I was in a small chapter of a national fraternity. We had about 15-20 guys all 3.5 years I was there. I served as Rush Chair for one year. I understand the pressure involved when your success or failure at getting those three or four guys to join will greatly impact your house budget, which impacts everything else. In such houses, a couple of bad recruiting campaigns can threaten the solvency/viability of the chapter.

    So -- there are plenty of Greek chapters where the term "exclusionary" does not apply. It just depends on a school's prevailing attitude about Greek life, supply and demand, etc.
    edited April 2016
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  • gettingschooledgettingschooled 1917 replies34 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @austinmshauri Rush for fraternities and sororities is run by two different organizations so the rules are different.

    For sororities the rush process is a process of mutual selection. The first day everybody is required to meet everybody. The sororities makes "cuts" and invites a smaller group the next day. If a girl gets too many invitations on day 2, she makes her "cuts." A girl who does not attend the maximum number of parties she can attend is narrowing her choices down too far and running the risk of being cut from all houses by the end. The prices is designed to avoid that outcome. If she doesn't like any house but one, she has to suffer through a 20-30 minute event and then she can cut them the next day. It is not at all unusual to change your mind about where you fit throughout the rush process. I certainly changed mine throughout that week.

    Fraternity rush is usually less formal. You don't have to attend every house and every house does it have to invite you. I think this disadvantages first gen and less established kids personally. But the awkwardness of a 20-30 minute interaction is avoided.

    Both have their benefits and disadvantages.
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  • EllieMomEllieMom 1872 replies11 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @austinmshauri As I understand it, the rush/recruitment is controlled by the national councils in the case of the IFC (Interfraternity Council—"traditional" fraternities) and NPHC (National Panhellenic Council—"traditional" sororities) and they have very different approaches to rush. So, it's not so much men vs. women but IFC vs. NPHC.

    The NPHC rush process is very structured and seems a lot like it was in the days when I went through it myself. It has several "rounds" with girls visiting fewer and fewer houses with each round. There is not supposed to be any "dirty rushing" or preferences extended before formal rush begins. IIRC, at D's school it was something like 11 houses the first day. The second day, depending on how many "matches" were made, that went down to more like 8. Then 5. Then 3. Then bid day. Not all girls are matched with the full number of houses at every round of rush, but everyone my daughter knows, including those who dropped out, were matched with at least a couple. D didn't have a full complement of invites on one of the days of rush, but that wasn't a big deal to her. There are also "snap bids" if houses don't meet quota and, I think, maybe an informal rush open to upperclassmen in the fall. But I'm not sure how that works exactly.

    IFC rush is much more casual.

    And at D's school there is also a strong contingent of MGC (Multicultural Greek Council) chapters, where recruitment varies from chapter to chapter.
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  • deega123deega123 643 replies46 postsRegistered User Member
    @austinmshauri Every school's recruitment is a little different. I gave my opinion about formal recruitment at large SEC schools and posted a schedule as evidence. For those schools, recruitment has to be highly scheduled and organized or it will turn into chaos. The goal is to guide and transport up to 2500 girls through fifteen to twenty houses in a set amount of time. The beauty is, if you don't like the system you don't have to participate.
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  • EllieMomEllieMom 1872 replies11 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @PragmaticMom Like @deega123 suggested, just google the school name + greek life (or something like that) and you should be able to find the info for any particular school. I think a lot of schools combine info on all the GLO (greek letter organizations) in one place with links to councils (IFC/NPHC/MGC) as well as university rules and regulations on things like hazing prevention and university-specific rules for chapters, members, and potential new members before, during, and after the recruitment period.

    Also, I think it's great that you and your daughter want to explore all her options when it comes to GLOs. Ethnicity really isn't an issue with IFC/NPHC chapters at many schools. (Neither, for what it's worth, is sexual orientation.) The fraternities and sororities at D's school, for example, pretty much reflect the general demographic make-up for the school as a whole.

    Often, the MGC chapters are less ethnically diverse than the traditional IFC/NPHC houses, but they also make a point of being open to nonethnic students (at least in their official communications). So, for example, although a particular MGC chapter may be Asian-interest, it is not necessarily Asian-exclusive and may include members from other ethnic backgrounds as well.
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  • PizzagirlPizzagirl 40174 replies320 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    "At most schools, Greek houses are residential, and at least for the first year or so, new members are required to live in the chapter's house. If a chapter knows that there will be 20 free beds next year because 20 members are graduating or moving out of the house for other reasons, then it can only recruit 20 new members, right? If 23 people apply to join, 3 must be excluded."

    Marian, I think there are a few misconceptions here. In my system - which is fairly typical - you just lived in as a junior or if you were one of the core senior officers (pres, vice president, etc.). So, for example, in my system, all the Greek houses were built at the same time in a quad right next to (and blending in with) "regular" dorms. Each house could sleep between 40 - 50 - depending on the specific physical layout and how they configured their rooms.

    When I joined, our pledge classes were 30 (360 girls / 12 houses = quota of 30). So when it came time to be juniors, all the juniors were required to live in - but there were always one or two who were studying abroad or who were RA's, so they were exempt. Then the senior officers (pres, vp, etc.) were pulled in. Then, if there was room left over, other non-officer seniors could live in, and if still room, sophomores could be pulled in (though this was rare).

    During my time there, pledge classes rose to somewhere in the 40's. It still worked out though - it just meant that fewer non-officer seniors could live in. Which wasn't a real problem at all.

    I lived in junior and senior year because that worked out for me, but many of my friends lived in junior year and then got an off-campus apartment - often with friends who weren't Greek at all. It was perfectly fine - it was all just personal preference. No one cared in the least if you weren't living in the house.

    What you wouldn't want is to have a smaller quota for ABC than for XYZ just because ABC's physical house could sleep (say) 5 fewer girls.
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  • 1Dreamer1Dreamer 529 replies3 postsRegistered User Member
    edited April 2016
    While I’m guessing that the Greek system at smaller schools with a high percentage of Greek participation is more “intense,” I can only speak from the perspective of a non-Greek at a large university where somewhere around 12-13% are Greek, but that still equates to a number in the thousands with approximately 30 fraternities and 30 sororities with fraternities. So yes, it was still pretty big.

    While most of my closest friends were not Greek, I did have several friends who were Greek including a guy I met at orientation the summer before school started who turned out to be my best friend and eventual business partner. We became almost inseparable friends from the day we met, so I went to rush parties with him, but I knew it wasn’t for me. Different strokes, but it did give me some perspective as an outsider with close friendships inside and out of the system.

    All I can tell you is that I did not experience “the great divide” between Greeks and non-Greeks at the hands of Greek exclusionary policies, formal or informal. From my experience, the biggest divide was created by non-Greeks who proudly proclaimed themselves to be GDIs (a term I never heard a Greek use describing a non-Greek), and who had an almost irrational dislike for all people and things Greek. A couple of my friends who later became my roommates when we moved into an off-campus apartment initially wouldn’t give my best friend a chance when they met him. Only through time and getting to know him did that change, but even then, they saw him as an outlier.

    There were others who had just one house they were interested in because of a house had a reputation or stereotype they'd heard about. For them, it was that one house or none, and it wasn’t that they wanted to be in a house where they found the most people they liked. It was more about being identified by the reputation of that house, often by those who didn’t even knowing them. These are what I’d describe as the social climbers, and they were the ones most likely to be devastated if they didn’t get a bid.

    I just tried to approach everyone with an open mind as an individual, not by whether they were Greek or not, or what the stereotype was for a house they may be in, and maybe this is why I was invited to more fraternity and sorority events by friends than my non-Greek friends. While there were some who fit a negative stereotype, the vast majority did not. Yes, they’d often sit together at games, and no, you wouldn’t feel welcome as a bunch of non-Greeks trying to sit in the middle of a group of Greeks uninvited, but I was able to sit with my friends when I wanted to.

    Also, my experience with little sisters and big brothers was similar to @zinhead where fraternities held little sister rush parties and sororities held big brother rush parties, but being a big brother or little sister was not exclusive to being a Greek yourself. I was a big brother at one sorority. It just meant I was among a group of guys they were comfortable with and could count on to show up and help with something if needed, and there were a few events just for big brothers. I never really thought about “big” and “little” being derogatory. Since anyone in a fraternity or sorority was called a brother or sister, I think using just that term would get a little confusing. I suppose they could use something else like “dude” and “dudette,” but it just doesn’t have the same flow. ;)

    Anyway, I have no ax to grind either way. Just my experience - as an outsider. The biggest problem I had with fraternities and the main reason I didn’t want to be involved was because of hazing, which was still pretty prevalent in my day. Does anyone know to what extent it still exists underground? Thankfully, it’s been outlawed virtually everywhere now with strictly enforced zero tolerance policies if word gets out, but you still occasionally read stories of people hospitalized or dying from hazing, so I wonder how much it’s still going on underground that we never hear about.
    edited April 2016
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  • PizzagirlPizzagirl 40174 replies320 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    "Women have to attend every event at every house that exists or every house where they express an initial interest? If it's true that men get to choose which houses to visit and women have to visit all of them, I'd refuse to participate. In my opinion, it's discriminatory to hold women to a more restrictive standard than the men."

    austinmshauri, I think there are some misconceptions on your part that I'd like to clear up.

    First, your friend could not have been a "member" of Sigma Chi, as it's a fraternity. She may have been a little sister. Sort of an auxiliary group. Zinhead explained it well.

    Second, "discriminatory" would only apply if it were the same organization running both the guys and the girls and holding the girls to a different standard. These are two entirely different organizations - IFC for the guys and Panhel for the girls. It's rather like comparing the Boy Scouts' and the Girl Scouts' policies on things and claiming "discriminatory" if they are different. No - they are independent organizations, and all they share is the scouting name.
    edited April 2016
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  • PizzagirlPizzagirl 40174 replies320 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @austinmshauri. The concept of the girls being required to attend every house for first set is a *feature*. Not a *bug. Here's why.

    It is a bad idea, and completely counterproductive, to say "well, I just want to attend events at houses 1,2,6 and 8 and skip the rest." Where would you have gotten the idea that you only care to meet the girls at 1,2,6 and 8? From the stereotype that they are the "hot houses"? Based off what? Complete lack of information - just rumors and gossip and stereotype. OSo meanwhile, everyone congregates at 1,2,6 and 8 - and a lot of them are going to be disappointed when they can't get in - but meanwhile they could have hit it off beautifully with the girls at 3,4,5 and / or 7.

    So the system is set up to do a *good thing.* As the schedule posted shows, you are required to go to every house for first round. You have to meet everybody and give a fair shake to everybody. And the houses have to do the same to the girls. So you go to 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,and 8. Let's say the next round takes it down to 5 houses. You receive invitations from 1,2,3,4,5,6 and 7. You still are expected / should go to a full 5 houses - not decide that you are still too good for anybody other than 1,2, and 6 (since 8 did not invite you back).

    As a rush counselor, I absolutely ALWAYS advised my girls that they should go to the maximum number of houses. The system should be set up such that if you always go back to the maximum number of houses in a round, you should be assured of a spot in the end.

    A lot of the people who complain about how hurtful rush is do it to themselves - because they determine upfront they "only want to be" a 1,2,6 or 8 - and those particular houses don't invite them back, or they "suicide" (preference only 1, even though 1, 3, and 5 invited them back).

    So no, I don't at all agree with your assertion that it's "discriminatory" and in fact I think it's a better system that each girl is required to give a fair shake to all houses and each house is required to meet each girl.

    BTW, if a house feels they didn't get to know a girl well enough, their conversations were rushed, etc. the default is that she is considered a "get to know" and she's invited back to get to know her better.


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  • PizzagirlPizzagirl 40174 replies320 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Re the schedule deega posted:

    You can't have it both ways. You can't complain that the system promotes "superficial" AND at the same time complain that there is too much time being spent at the houses.
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  • whenhenwhenhen 5530 replies111 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    There is at least one sorority at my school that requires all women who live in the house to not exit until they put makeup on. Doesn't matter if the person is going to work out, about to pull an all nighter in the library, or just doesn't feel like putting it on. One of my friends who opted not to live in the house partially for this reason explained that the chapter wanted to make sure that members look presentable at all times, but that just strikes me as insanely sexist.

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  • PizzagirlPizzagirl 40174 replies320 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    What kind of "makeup" specifically? You're a guy - do they mean foundation, blush, mascara, eyeshadow?
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  • whenhenwhenhen 5530 replies111 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @Pizzagirl Not sure, although the next time I see her I'll ask. Also, I'm a woman.
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  • PizzagirlPizzagirl 40174 replies320 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Oh, sorry! For some reason I thought you were a guy!
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