Greek Life’s All-Bid Rule Rescinded


Over two decades after its birth, the Greek life “all-bid” rule has been abolished. The Board of Trustees made its decision at a special meet­ing in Palo Alto, California, on January 28. The rule, established by the Board in 1991, stated that any eligible student who had an interest in joining a Greek Life Organization (GLO) would be guaranteed a bid to a fraternity or sorority, respec­tively. Interim Vice President and Dean of the College Scott Brown, who was present at the Palo Alto meeting, issued a statement to the GLO President’s Council last week concerning the Board’s decision.

“The Board passed a resolution to rescind the all-bid rule to address pressing recruiting, crowding and administrative issues that have devel­oped over the past decade in Greek Life Organizations,” Brown said.

Come next fall, the Board’s decision will undoubtedly have a prominent and immediate impact on Greek life, particularly where it concerns sororities.

The repeal of the 1991 all-bid rule comes at a time when many consider the new sorority classes to be overpopulated. With the suspen­sion of Kappa Alpha Theta in 2008, Colgate was left with only three so­rorities, accentuating the effects of the all-bid rule.

By 2009, average sorority class sizes had ballooned to over 61 women.

This past fall, sororities ex­tended over 218 bids to poten­tial new members. Spreading these bids across only three so­rorities equates to class sizes of over 70 members. When consid­ering that Colgate’s fraternities average around 62 undergradu­ate members in their entirety, the sizes of these sorority classes are remarkable.

With the all-bid rule no longer in play, it can be expected that the size of sorority classes will begin to shrink. How drastic this reduc­tion will be is uncertain, but many have already begun to commend the Board’s decision.

“I think that the Board of Trust­ee’s decision to rescind the all-bid rule is going to make a huge differ­ence for students on our campus,” senior India Rosse said. “Diversity among our members is an extremely important component of being in a Greek Letter Organization. How­ever, the ability to benefit from the camaraderie we gain between our members, as well as our ability to function effectively as a group on campus, was compromised with an ever-growing new member class.”

When asked why the Board of Trustees decided to repeal the 1991 all-bid rule, Dean Brown stated that it was found to be outdated.

“We’re always looking at how to create the most vibrant resi­dential experience for students possible,” Brown said. “With the way that the all-bid rule was structured, we were in a much different place then. We’re much stronger now.”

The reduction in GLO’s new class sizes will consequently re­duce the overall percentage of students participating in Greek Life as a whole. At their meet­ing in Palo Alto, the Board also considered a proposal to expand GLOs on campus. Finding that they did not have enough in­formation to make an informed decision, the Board decided to hold off in its decision until it has been able to hear more voices from the Colgate community.

“Because this work will be on­going, a resolution was not ad­vanced to expand the number of Greek Letter Organizations,” Brown said. “Any decision in GLO expansion will be made after the standards are established.”

The Student Affairs Board (SAB) has been appointed to hear the opinions of alumni, faculty and students and to present the Board of Trustees with a better understanding of what is best for the community. It is anticipated that this process will take a sig­nificant amount of time and that a vote by the Board should not be expected for at least another year.

Contact Cody Semrau at [email protected]