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Fraternities at Yale and didn't get Bid

flobabyflobaby Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
edited February 11 in Yale University
My son and his good friend (went to same school prior to Yale before his friend moved overseas) rushed a frat at Yale late in the process. They had a mutual acquaintance who got them invites, after they just happened to ask if he was in a frat.... and he was indeed in. They went to a few parties at the house, and they both met with the brothers individually in the short time that they had. His friend ( upper class, international, $$$$$$$$) got in. My son ( middle class, on mostly full scholarship, ie basically on a full ride for a Yale degree) didn't get in. So yea he's upset. He felt things went well, but seemed ambivalent from the start describing the bro's as being in their own heads like a clip from "The Lost Boys". Also, he rarely drinks alcohol ( good I say ) and asked the connection they had about that and was told he could drink milk. What??? He makes straight A's, is tall, super good-looking, polite, charming, and very unpretentious. He also holds an office on campus. But he's caucasian and poor, relatively speaking. My brother is an attorney and went to Cal, and is good at getting to the bottom of things. He said of course my son didn't get in. Once they did the background check on him, ie just googled his name, they can easily find his parents and the concrete block house we live in and that would cinch the deal. Could he be right? Once I started thinking about it, it does make sense that the bro's would do that. None of them asked what his parents do for a living, because they don't need to. They have ways and means.....

Apparently the frat does offer scholarships. Do you have to be upper middle class/ rich for those too? I haven't asked my brother yet, but I can imagine him saying no, but they will always take the wealthy guys first for obvious reasons, and if limited spots. So ethnically diverse, but economically about the same.

Any comments out there?

Post edited by skieurope on

Replies to: Fraternities at Yale and didn't get Bid

  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri Registered User Posts: 7,854 Senior Member
    He felt things went well, but seemed ambivalent from the start describing the bro's as being in their own heads like a clip from "The Lost Boys". Also, he rarely drinks alcohol ( good I say ) and asked the connection they had about that and was told he could drink milk.

    It doesn't sound like he was very interested in joining the frat. Maybe they picked up on that. What did he tell his friend and their acquaintance? If his comments got back to the brothers I can see why they'd pick the pledges who wanted to be there over those who didn't seem that interested.
  • exyalie15exyalie15 Registered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    I think it had nothing to do with his socioeconomic status and everything to do with the fact that he doesn't drink.
  • worriestoomuchworriestoomuch Registered User Posts: 170 Junior Member
    @flobaby - FYI: Here is a link to an article that appeared in the NYT (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/12/us/yale-fraternities.html) this morning, that reports that a lawsuit was filed today by Yale students against Yale for supporting fraternities. Their objective is to force frats to become co-ed.

    I'm sorry about the disappointment your son feels about his rejection (by the frat he rushed). Personally I think frats are toxic, but get why students look for a sense of community by joining frats (and sororities). But I find their history disturbing enough to think campus life would be better off without them. They are inherently exclusionary - on the basis of gender, class and sexual identity - facts which all Yale students should find offensive.

    However, at the end of the day I think that private individuals should be permitted to do things that other people may find objectionable. That includes drinking too much beer and making crude passes at people who decide to attend their parties. Of course, that doesn't include sexual assault.

    I am also suspicious of the legalistic attempt to erase distinctions between private groups and public entities. Taking every conceivable action that a university could take against a private fraternity (including declining to provide post-graduate recommendations) is not really legally feasible.

    And the last line of the Times article is telling.

    I am sure your son will find his "people" at Yale through his classes and his extracurricular activities. Best of luck to him!
  • Leigh22Leigh22 Registered User Posts: 279 Junior Member
    I found it interesting that you felt the need to include that your son’s tall and “very” good looking. So for you, these traits should be given value and should have been points for him being accepted. It’s not a criticism of you, but is just interesting. That’s the thing with frats - it is a popularity contest and if you have the goods they want then you’re in! This frat seems to rank being a drinker very high.
    I agree that it doesn’t really seem like he was that interested or a real fit. I think you might be taking it harder than him, but I get it, no one wants her kid to feel rejected.
  • madammadam Registered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
    edited February 13
    flobaby, I read your post and felt compelled to reply. My son rushed a fraternity at Yale his freshman year and was also not offered a bid...I know how you feel. In retrospect, the fraternity he rushed was comprised of "good looking" guys who actually were not a great fit for him. After getting to know more guys over the following year, he rushed again and pledged at a house that he loves...great guys who are very much into brotherhood. He is now on his fraternity's Rush committee and I called him to get his take. He assures me that no one would ever be excluded because of a lack of family wealth...but having a famous last name or substantial family resources might be a plus for some frats. Each frat has it's own personality and your son may simply have rushed a fraternity comprised of guys who don't share his values...no great loss. I actually discouraged my son from joining a frat at all...even he would confirm that they are not a big deal. Yale has a robust Residential College system and an astounding number of other organizations that offer endless opportunities to socialize. Many of his friends who are in frats barely participate.

    Regarding the NYT's article referenced, my son knows one of the girls mentioned. You wouldn't know it from the article (which is very misleading and not based in fact) but the real issue these ladies are pursuing is inclusion of women in fraternities. This is unlikely to happen at any of the fraternities on campus with a national affiliation as it would violate their own national policies. Take this article with a grain of salt.

    Best of luck to your son. He definitely doesn't need to be in a frat at Yale!
    Post edited by skieurope on
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 20,206 Senior Member
    the lawsuit states that few options besides fraternity parties exist for women who want to socialize and meet other students.
    Yale has often looked the other way, the plaintiffs claim, while parties rage and women from Yale and surrounding colleges are routinely sexually harassed and abused.

    So they are suing because the fraternities are the only place to party, and they complain that parties rage at the fraternities?

  • worriestoomuchworriestoomuch Registered User Posts: 170 Junior Member
    edited February 13
    @madam - Your post contains a statement that requires clarification.

    According to your son who is "on a Rush committee" at his frat, "...no one would ever be excluded because of a lack of family wealth." This may literally be true. But the fact is that it costs a lot to be a member of a frat or a sorority. The amount of dues vary across Greek organizations, but the explicit membership dues run into the thousands of dollars. In addition, there are the implicit costs of various social events, like dances,etc., not covered by dues, that are "optional," but which members who want to participate in those events must pay to be active members of their Greek communities.

    For middle - or low-income students, these fees are prohibitive, and contribute to a sense of exclusiveness and exclusion which make frats simultaneously attractive and alienating for students. "Scholarships" don't begin to cover the explicit and implicit costs of Greek life on college campuses, in general, and at Yale, in particular, where the financial burden of paying tuition is very real, and even quite daunting, for many families.
    Post edited by skieurope on
  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 Registered User Posts: 1,073 Senior Member
    Lucky for your son. He's smart, good looking and obviously hard working. And even better, he doesn't drink to excess. He doesn't need a frat to be relevant.

    Personally, I think Frats are toxic. And sad. Someone wanting to belong so badly that they have to do things they don't want to just to "belong". No thank you.
    In terms of exclusiveness, yes, that may in fact be the case. But there are often kids who are not the top of the class at places like Yale, whose sole thing is being in a Frat. Will they succeed due to parental connections? Maybe. But things have changed a lot. There are many who would not hire someone like this. So they are regulated to their own network. Might work. Might not.

    My sister just told me one of her sons joined a Frat at USC. It costs 4K a semester so they can have a personal chef. What an utter waste of $. That money could be spent on all sorts of things. And who is going to join it? Kids whose parents are keeping up with the Jones' and kids whose parents have a ton of dough. Not necessarily the strongest kids just a random mix based on $.

    My kids know that I don't approve of Frats/Sororities. Followers, we are not. Additionally, tell your son, that some business owners ( like myself) would hesitate and very likely not hire someone from a Frat/Sorority. It tells me something that I need to know. Is this person going to be able to think creatively and be fine on their own working hard. I hired a few women who had been in sororities and found them to be very juvenile.

    For the record, my spouse still has friends from college days 30+ years ago. I do too, though lost touch with many. Deep friends. Not from a Frat, but friends who hung out together because they liked each other.

    The only Frat party I ever attended was at MIT. People were wading in a kiddie pool and eating live goldfish. Not really in keeping with my lifestyle (ever!). It really told me all I needed to know.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,893 Senior Member
    OP wrote : "he rarely drinks alcohol". Because of this, you should not be surprised that your son did not get a bid to join the fraternity. Frats are designed primarily to create a comfortable environment for the members. A non-drinker probably would have made the current members uncomfortable in their own house. Simple as that, in my opinion.

  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 40,175 Super Moderator
    Regarding the NYT's article referenced, my son knows one of the girls mentioned
    Unless there is a specific part of the NYT article that pertains to the original post, let's move off from discussing it on this thread. There is a separate thread for that discussion:
  • flobabyflobaby Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    V. Interesting indeed! and I can offer no reasonable explanation for my descriptors other than I was indignant and overly emotional at the time of the post. Which, BTW I regret immensely. Tall.... irrelevant. Super-good looking? Yea to me, especially that night! But cute enough I believe to have gotten into a fraternity. In other words, who knows what drove me to write so much unnecessary information. I'm still trying to figure that out! ;(( But alas, what's done is done on this site apparently.
  • flobabyflobaby Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Above to Leigh22 ....
  • IxnayBobIxnayBob Registered User Posts: 4,370 Senior Member
    Dodged a bullet. Careful what you wish for.

    There's got to be a version of the Groucho Marx line "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member" that applies to Yale fraternities.
  • madammadam Registered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
    @Worriestoomuch, I am happy to provide clarification but I can only speak about my son's fraternity experience. They have an approximately $500/semester fee that provides for almost everything including their parties and mixers. My son doesn't spend beyond this fee unless he wants to buy a t-shirt or something. Also, members are able to gain scholarships and/or financial aid for these fees through the national organizational and the Yale chapter (unusually half). Please note that my son is not eligible for financial aid at Yale or in his fraternity and is responsible to pay his full dues. Our family (like many!) does not contribute financially to this activity as we consider this a social expense and no different than him going to a bar (which we also don't fund). My son chooses to pay for his own fraternity expenses with money he makes working full time every summer since he was 16.

    I am sensitive to issues of affluence as I have worked with low-income and at-risk students for over 20 years. Yale provides astounding financial assistance (mostly gifts) to the students they accept. They also provide a robust Residential College system that really precludes the need for a Greek system. From where I sit, students at Yale are not being deprived of "networking" or any other suggested social-economic benefit of joining a fraternity. All students at Yale are privileged to be surrounded by bright, motivated and thoughtful peers simply by being on campus. Sometimes they just need some time to find their place...and it certainly doesn't need to be a fraternity.
  • madammadam Registered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
This discussion has been closed.