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

Again, this silliness is exactly why my kid has zero interest in Greek life. It is all about exclusion.

Danger sign #1: Mothers are engaged in their daughters’ sorority choices/process beyond general “good luck, sweetie” and general self-esteem building support. Ok, maybe a fun clothing run :slight_smile:

Danger sign #2: Mothers / other relatives have a vested interest / care that their daughters join a specific house, as opposed to “find the house that suits you - or don’t join at all if that suits you too.” If the social climate is such that one’s choice of house is considered to impact one’s social circle as an adult - that’s another warning sign that it’s a too-serious system.

Danger sign #3: There are programs for high school seniors, resume workshops, etc. Greek life should not start til the campus experience (ideally second semester / deferred).

Danger sign #4: Recs are mandatory and considered very important and a girl is cut if she doesn’t have them. Unwelcoming to girls with non college educated mothers and international girls.

Danger sign #5: There are a lot of legacy girls going through - enough to fill the houses even without non legacies.

Danger sign #6: It is not unheard of for a girl to drop out of school if she doesn’t make her desired sorority. I have heard of this at UT and SMU.

Danger sign #7: Over-the-top preparation of hair, makeup, and clothing. The idea of mothers hiring hair and makeup people in hotel rooms is beyond ridiculous. It sounds like a pageant mom culture. There should be no reason for a girl to do / look anything beyond a generally put-together polished version of her best self. Btw, a positive sign is when the Panhel has rushees wear common t-shirts for first round. That takes away some of the “judge me on my clothes” ammunition.

Danger sign #8: Lots of girls are let go at each stage, and/or the final quota is determined by a system other than adding up the number of girls going through and dividing by the number of houses. Indiana is a particularly bad example where it’s based on the number of beds in the house versus the number of girls wanting a spot. A well designed system should practically guarantee a spot to girls who go through and don’t cut any houses.

Danger sign #9: Girls are expected to live In the house all 4 years. This serves a purpose of cutting them off from other friendships from class, etc.

When rush happens also makes a huge difference. At a school like Alabama, for example, rush takes place before the first week of school—kids who are not in the know, go into it completely blind and are at a huge disadvantage. At schools with “delayed rush” where the process doesn’t happen until second semester or sophomore year, kids have the opportunity to integrate themselves into the school culture, get to know fellow freshmen and upperclassmen, and get beyond the stereotypes (both positive and negative) associated with greek system. They have a much better idea of what they’re getting themselves into.

Danger sign #10: Alums are involved in the selection process (beyond administrative and behind-the-scenes hanging up coats, etc). That’s where the Alabama black-member thing went off the rails - as it was completely inappropriate for alums to have any input in the first place.

@deega123. I fully expect this thread to devolve into another CC food fight over Greek life. My comment was to try and avoid this by asking posters to provide reasons as well as conclusions. It’s difficult to have a conversation when others don’t know the underlying premise of one’s stance.

My D went to a small state school and had a great experience. S is going to a large SEC school. How does the fraternity rush compare to what you all are saying about sorority rush? I am a bit concerned on reading all this. I signed him up for a three day formal rush process. I had to send a picture and his transcript, but I know nothing of recommendations, etc. He has a friend in one of the fraternities and is already leaning towards that house. I have seen good and bad in Greek life and have an open mind, but some of these posts really concern me.

Well dadof1 hopefully I’m providing you with reasons/rationale! Lol

Side note: UT-Austin isn’t in the SEC.

As a total non-Greek person, I do think that delayed rush sounds like a good idea.

I have no stance on any particular college @pizzagirl.

Even if a Greek house’s members are the friendliest, most open-minded and open-hearted people on campus, doesn’t membership have to be exclusionary?

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.

I think deferred/delayed rush until sophomore year is something that should be mandated at all schools, for reasons stated above (#7). Can anyone explain why this would be a bad idea?

That was exactly how my daughter felt before she went to school. She’s the type of kid who proudly described herself and her friends as “the nerdiest group of people at a school known for being nerdy.” When she announced that she was going to go through rush, I was surprised.

Interestingly, I found a statistic that suggests that she is not the only one who changed her mind about the greek system once she went to school. While almost a quarter of students are involved in “greek life” at her school, less than 5% of incoming freshmen expressed interest in pledging a sorority or fraternity.

And greek life need not be all about exclusion. That varies a great deal from campus to campus. At many schools there are more places open than potential new members to fill them. At other schools (Tufts, is one) there are “guaranteed bid systems” which means that if you register for recruitment, you are guaranteed a bid (but not necessarily to your top-ranked chapter).

@Marian Aside from Indiana, I have never heard of sororities setting quota based on beds. I thought (until this thread) that it was universally number of rushees divided by number of houses. Girls may not get the exact house they want but they can get in a house.

I don’t think second semester recruitment is a bad idea but in many schools deferred recruitment tends to enhance the stereotypes of the particular fraternities and sororities. Students learn that XYZ is the nerdy sorority or ABC is the party one and the reputations are self fulfilling.

The other issue is the amount of work that it takes to pull off recruitment. At SEC schools, sorority members come to school early and spend two weeks or more preparing. Once school starts, there just aren’t enough available blocks of free time to get the entire group together to prepare.

@Pizzagirl Your danger signs are great. The problem is there isn’t much way for a high school senior to know about them going in. Our local Panhellenic hosts the spring workshop to get girls rec letters for all the houses they need regardless of what school they are going to do the intention is benign. But getting rid of recs altogether would end the need.

I love the idea of the T shirts for every rushee. I’d support that all the way up through pref night!

I waited until sophomore year to rush and I think that was a great way to see how various houses operate. I think delayed rush is a great idea.

But how could they not? What are they going to do, have students sleeping on the floor?

I hope this thread doesn’t devolve into a food fight because, like it or not, greek life is part of the landscape on many college campuses today.

While I have been accused elsewhere of “dominating the thread with support for these organizations,” I am actually pretty ambivalent about the role that GLOs play in the social life of university students. When my daughter decided to pledge, I made it my business to find out about how the system works. What I found online was a lot of hyperbole on both sides. Like everything, I think the reality is somewhere in between. I’d like to see a discussion that provides information that could actually help kids and families make decisions about greek life based on that reality.

@Marian, at other schools some girls just don’t get to live in the house. Most of the time it is based on grades. The members with the highest grades get to pick their rooms first. The ones that don’t get a bed have to find off campus housing or live in the dorms.

edited to add - At least with the schools that I am familiar with, only sophomores live in the house. It’s not like Animal House where every member lives in the fraternity house.

@Marian That was a misconception I had, too. I assumed that most houses were just that—houses where the people in the sororities or fraternities lived. At many schools that’s not the case. At D’s school, the “sorority house” is a floor in one of the dorms, and most girls don’t live there.

This sounds good. I have a friend however, who told me that at her daughter’s school, the T shirts given out were all size small or x small, so it was more apparent who was thinner and who was heavier. :frowning: It was a calculated thing by the sororities.