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

@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.

@surfcity Wow. Just wow.

I don’t think posters need resumes, but examples would be helpful. Maybe people who have been in the system, or know someone who has, could explain what the recruitment process is like at the houses they know about for those who haven’t experienced it. Which houses have you had experience with and what do they do that’s “physically and mentally grueling”?

I only know of two houses. One of my sisters was in Sigma Chi in FL in the 70’s. She loved it. I didn’t care for the set up because they had a fraternity matched up with each sorority and the frat members were referred to as “big brothers” while the sorority members were called “little sisters.” I thought that was pretty sexist. If they wanted to encourage a familial relationship, why not just use “brother” and “sister”? Why put the women in a subordinate role? It seemed like the fraternity existed to be doers and the sorority existed to be helpers. My sister’s descriptions of their activities sounded like the men were training to be executives and the women were training to be their supportive secretaries or wives.

The only fraternity I know of is the one in the Northeast that my husband pledged at, also in the 70’s. He and a couple friends were engineering majors and the frat (whose chapter name I don’t know) purposely kept them up all night the evening before a major exam. The boys all failed so badly that they were dropped from the major.

I don’t believe that the behavior of one chapter should reflect badly on other chapters or that sororities or fraternities are inherently bad. There has to be some measure of personal responsibility. My sister didn’t have to settle for being what I consider a second class citizen. My husband could have walked out anytime he wanted. The boy in the thread ucbalumnus posted a link to could have accepted that knowing not all students would get a bid meant that he might be one of them. I think the way the frat handled it was horrible; they should have let the boys they weren’t giving bids to out early so they could make the rounds at other parties. But no fair trying to join an exclusive club then crying foul that they’re exclusive. We need to do a better job of teaching our young people to stick up for themselves. I was reserved and shy as a teen, so I get it, but mindlessly engaging in an activity that’s not in your best interest because somebody else told you to is reminiscent of the grade school ploy, “If you do x, I’ll be your friend.” If young people are still falling for it when they get to college, we’re doing something wrong.

This is what I consider to be physically and mentally grueling, especially for an incoming freshman. Here is the first day of a five day recruitment schedule for a large SEC school. All days start at 6am. An “event” is a visit to a house.

6 a.m. Breakfast
7 a.m. Meet buses

Event 1: 8 – 8:20
Event 2: 8:35 – 8:55
Event 3: 9:10 – 9:30
Event 4: 9:45 – 10:05
Break
Event 5: 10:30 – 10:50
Event 6: 11:05 – 11:25
Event 7: 11:40 – 12:00
Noon – 1 p.m. Lunch
1 p.m. Meet buses
Event 8: 1:45 – 2:05
Event 9: 2:20 – 2:40
Event 10: 2:55 – 3:15
Event 11: 3:30 – 3:50

In my opinion, many (not all) colleges have a Greek system because students involved in activities (like Greek life) tend to return the following year(s) rather than transfer/drop out. It’s in the interests of colleges to have a Greek system.

I really like Pizzagirl’s posts and comments. I can’t name specific colleges that I think have a “harsh” Greek system.

Since this thread is about naming names, however, I will give my secondhand perspective of the sorority rush process at Rollins. The goal is for every potential new member (PNM) join a sorority. There are more slots than PNMs. Rush doesn’t begin until second semester. There doesn’t seem to be any hazing or looking down on non-Greeks. If you want to join… fine; if not, that’s fine too. These are all good things.