New Preference System for Fraternity Rush

Laura D'Angelo

With fraternity recruitment last week, Greek life is natural­ly a topic of much interest and debate on campus right now. Despite some controversy sur­rounding it, however, the 237 el­igible male students who geared up for rushing at Colgate’s six fraternities did not appear to be fazed. Although fraternity rush still lasted only a week this year, the process itself was drastically changed. The new process introduced a preference system in an effort to ensure the best mutual fit for potential new members (PNMs) and the fraternity houses.

“This year wasn’t a year where only fraternities make the deci­sions. We wanted the potential new members to know the selec­tion is mutual,” Assistant Dean of Campus Life and Advisor to the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) Fouad Saleet said.

In past years, those students rushing would not know where they stood with the fraternities un­til the last day when they received their bids. This year, both PNMs and fraternities had to send their preferred selections to the IFC after each night so that PNMs could be told which, if any, of their favored fraternities were also interested. This process of mutual selection was patterned off of the Panhellenic Association’s sorority rushing process.

Last Monday, all 237 PNMs started the process by attending up to six parties at each of the frater­nity houses: Beta Theta Pi, Delta Upsilon, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Kappa Tau, Sigma Chi and Theta Chi. After the parties had finished, PNMs were asked for their three top choices and fraternities provid­ed a list of their preferred students. The IFC then worked to match these preferences.

“The IFC and I decided to have the students pick three fraterni­ties because three isn’t restrictive. It made the students give preferences, not definite decisions,” Saleet said.

On Tuesday night, the parties continued, but were limited to 50 to 70 PNMs in an effort to foster an environment of closer interactions with the fraternity brothers. At the end of the night, the same preference process was repeated, but PNMs were limited to choosing two fraternities.

For those PNMs whose preferences matched the selections of the fraternities, they were invited to a dinner on Wednes­day night with at least 30 other PNMs. An invitation to a dinner in no way guar­anteed a bid to the fraternity, but it al­lowed the PNMs and fraternity members to interact in a smaller setting. By Friday September 23 of last week, all fraterni­ties had made their decisions and bids were distributed.

For those students who were not matched with a fraternity and had not waived their right to be released from the process, they had the opportunity to speak with the fraternity presidents and recruitment chairs of all chapters on the evening of Thursday, September 22.

These conversations, which Saleet described as “speed dating without the speed,” allowed the presidents and recruit­ment chairs to ask the PNMs why they were interested in joining a fraternity. Af­ter the discussions, the representatives of the fraternities conferred with each other and decided the fraternities in which the unmatched PNMs would fit best. This way, the bids for those PNMs who did not waive their rights were not distributed at random and the goal of mutual selection was maintained.

Even though the events were made smaller and more selective by focusing on matching mutual preferences, President of IFC and Social Chair of Beta Theta Pi senior Alex Goldberg thinks there is still much room for improvement in the recruitment process.

“The rushing process needs to be re­vised because of the unfortunate situation when qualified [PNMs] who are engaged and involved on campus fall through the cracks of the much abbreviated and ac­celerated process. It is equally as hard for [fraternity] brothers in the house to meet hundreds of new kids in the span of just a couple afternoons,” Goldberg said.

With the close collaboration of the IFC, fraternity presidents, alumni advisors and Saleet, continued review and revision of the fraternity rushing process appears to be a priority.

Since the North-American Interfra­ternity Conference does not provide any governing structure for the recruitment process, the IFC and the fraternity presi­dents have a difficult road ahead in trying to find the most fair, mutually selective process possible.

“All of the Greek presidents have worked unbelievably hard with each other and with school administrators to move forward within the rules and bylaws set for by the institution,” Goldberg said. “The recruit­ment process has shown us how well pro­ductive collaboration can lead to an overall positive outcome.”

Contact Laura D’Angelo at [email protected]