EKT required to participate in ISC formal recruitment process

by Anindu Rentala | 5/25/18 2:40am

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by Naomi Lam / Naomi Lam/ The Dartmouth

This fall’s sorority recruitment process will see a significant change. Following a Dartmouth Inter-Sorority Council decision, Epsilon Kappa Theta sorority will be required to participate in the College’s ISC formal recruitment process in addition to hosting its distinctive shakeout style of rush.

Since 2014, EKT has hosted shakeout, which has served as its alternative to formal recruitment. Shakeout is similar to the fraternity rush process, in which potential new members can choose to visit only their top preferred Greek houses and interact with current members in those houses rather than being required to go to all Greek houses. Futhermore, during shakeout potential new members can express their interest in directly rushing that house.

Shakeout at EKT was initially implemented as a measure to attract more members to the house, since EKT has historically reported relatively small member classes through formal recruitment. However, shakeout grew to mean more to the sorority, according to EKT president Thuyen Tran ’19.

“It evolved into part of the EKT identity,” Tran said. “We attracted entirely new groups of women who did not want to participate in formal recruitment, which is time- and energy-intensive.”

In an email statement, the ISC wrote that shakeout “is a policy that must be proposed each recruitment cycle as an exception from formal recruitment.” The statement said that the ISC invited EKT to propose shakeout for the 2018-19 recruitment cycle to illustrate the necessity of the system. According to the statement, the evidence presented in the proposal was insufficient to grant EKT an exception from the formal recruitment process.

The ISC informed EKT about reevaluating the sorority’s recruitment process “as early as” Apr. 17 and formally notified EKT of its decision on May 10, according to the email statement.

“As governing body, the ISC has to push for fair regulations on behalf of all of our member chapters,” ISC’s email stated. “Dartmouth does not have the infrastructure to allow all sororities to do [shakeout].”

The statement added that allowing EKT to continue with shakeout without evidence that the process is critical is unfair to other chapters who would also prefer shakeout to formal recruitment. The ISC also cited the fact that EKT’s new member class sizes have decreased since shakeout was implemented, which indicates that it “may not independently be the best solution for the house.”

Tran said that the request to renew shakeout as an exception to ISC formal recruitment was a shock.

“When I traced back the history, ever since the year we started shakeout [in 2014], there’s never been a request for a proposal from [the Panhellenic Council], or the ISC or the Office of Greek Life,” Tran said.

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EKT will offer continuous open bidding next year in addition to participating in formal recruitment. Continuous open bidding is when a sorority continues to hold open houses and bids later in the term, which can be similar to shakeout according to an email statement from the ISC.

Tran said her primary concern is that doing both shakeout and formal recruitment will place a logistical burden on the sisters, as EKT is a relatively small Dartmouth Greek organization.

There were 394 potential new members registered for fall 2017’s sorority recruitment, according to the ISC’s email statement.

“Last fall, over 100 potential new members dropped recruitment over the course of what was then a two-week process,” the ISC wrote. “We hope that by adding EKT back into the formal rush process that the house could provide an additional option for PNMs who may have otherwise decided to drop from rush.”

According to an email statement from Office of Greek Life program coordinator Samantha Easby, EKT currently has 72 members. In comparison, the average size of a Dartmouth sorority is around 140 members.

Of those 72 EKT sisters, 41 are members of the Class of 2018, who will graduate and not be around to help with rush next fall, Tran said.

That leaves 31 EKT sisters to accommodate, greet and entertain all potential new members during the open house events, as well as make eventual call-back and bid decisions.

“To keep the house open for every woman participating in formal recruitment will be burdensome on the sisters, especially when many of the sisters also work on-campus jobs,” Tran said.

She said she has voiced this logistical concern to the ISC, and that ISC is working to accommodate EKT’s participation in formal recruitment.

“ISC has agreed to lower the limit of open hours during formal recruitment for EKT,” Tran said.

The EKT website states that part of motivation behind instituting shakeout was to address “flaws of formal recruitment,” which included “superficial conversation,” ranking women and competition between PNMs and greek houses.

In response to this, ISC stated in the email that since EKT instituted shakeout, the formal recruitment process has changed significantly to attempt to address those concerns. Houses are still individually responsible for the method of member selection. Additionally, the email stated that open houses gives houses full autonomy on how to interact with PNMs during open houses excluding actions like bribery or bid promising.

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“Shake Out is an imperfect solution to flaws in the Greek System,” ISC’s email stated.

The statement added that ISC hopes that the new version of recruitment combined with continuous open bidding will combine the benefits of both formal recruitment and shakeout.

“We agree wholeheartedly with EKT’s commitment to provide a space for typically marginalized groups on our campus,” the email stated. “We have been working with the president and rush chairs of EKT to make reasonable accommodations to make the transition back to formal recruitment as smooth as possible.”

Director of Greek Life Brian Joyce did not respond to a request for comment.

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Correction Appended (May 28, 2018): This article has been updated for accuracy to clarify that shakeout will only be offered through continuous open bidding and that open houses allow houses autonomy with PNMs during open houses excluding some actions.