Men nab bids in IFC rush

by Roshni Chandwani | 9/28/14 7:01pm

For two nights, men roamed in and out of fraternities sporting coats and ties. Now, many of those men have accepted bids, and in doing so became full-fledged fraternity members. This marks a shift from past Interfraternity Council recruitment seasons, when new members completed pledge terms, or probationary periods, before being officially inducted into a house.

Though the IFC had not tabulated final numbers by Sunday night and president Wil Chockley ’15 could not provide an estimate, data from a number of house representatives show that at least 241 men accepted bids.

At Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity, 24 men accepted bids; Beta Alpha Omega fraternity, 34; Chi Gamma Epsilon fraternity, 16; Gamma Delta Chi fraternity, 22; Kappa Kappa Kappa fraternity, 18; Psi Upsilon fraternity, 35; Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, 19; Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, 35; Theta Delta Chi fraternity, 22; Zeta Psi fraternity, 16, according to representatives from each house. Sigma Nu fraternity has yet to finalize bids but expects about the same number of new members as last fall, when 12 accepted bids, president Blaze Joel ’15 said. Representatives of Alpha Delta, Bones Gate, Chi Heorot and Phi Delta Alpha fraternities did not respond to numerous requests for comment on Sunday.

Of the 10 fraternities that provided final bid numbers by press time, half saw fewer bids than last fall and half saw more. SAE dropped from 35 bids to 19, Tri Kap dropped from 25 to 18 and Zete dropped from 28 to 16. The number of men who accepted Chi Gam bids doubled from 8 to 16, while at Sig Ep that figure increased from 28 to 35. Twenty-two men accepted bids at GDX, seven more than last year.

In fall 2013, more than 350 of 400 men who participated in the fraternity recruitment process accepted bids. This winter, fraternities extended 26 bids.

This weekend’s fraternity recruitment season follows heightened campus debate over the role of the Greek system and its relationship to harmful behaviors like binge drinking, sexual assault and exclusivity. During a closed meeting with Greek organization leaders on Sept. 16, College President Phil Hanlon and Board of Trustees Chair Bill Helman urged a reevaluation of student drinking, adult oversight of social spaces and freshman safety.

The IFC voted unanimously on Sept. 21 to eliminate pledge terms, which have historically been probationary periods for new members. Now, fraternities must immediately offer men who accept bids the full rights and privileges of current members.

In March, SAE’s national leadership announced that all chapters would no longer allow members to complete a pledging process before fully joining the house. According to its policy, members must be initiated as brothers within 96 hours of receiving their bid.

Chockley said that the pledge term ban aims to increase inclusivity.“The pledge term ban targets the inequality between pledges and brothers,” Chockley said.

Chi Gam president Zachary Queen ’15 echoed Chockley, noting that the ban on pledge term was not about preventing hazing, which is illegal, but about treating all members of the house equally.

“Hazing has never been condoned, it’s always been an actual offense,” Queen said. “What it’s really about is ending the two-tiered membership system so everyone’s on an equal playing field.”

Tri Kap president Anka Tezcan ’15 said the pledge term ban did not affect his fraternity’s rush process.

Jalen Benson ’17, who rushed and received a bid at Sig Ep, said he feels “really good” about the pledge term ban and its goal of demolishing inequality.

“It changes the dynamic between brothers and pledges,” Benson said. “It takes away the negative dynamics.”

A male member of the Class of 2017 who accepted a bid at a fraternity and requested anonymity due to fear of backlash, said he is indifferent about the pledge term ban and expects that pledge term activities will continue in some fashion.

“I think most of the houses are going to figure out a way to subject the pledges to certain activities, whether that be cleaning the house or doing other sorts of duties,” he said. “I can almost guarantee that there will be some sort of a pledge term.”

Sig Ep had 105 rushees and 60 shake-outs and extended 35 bids, which is roughly consistent with prior years, president Eli Derrow ’15 said.

Queen said that although Chi Gam did not get as many rushees as desired, the house saw a big improvement from last year. The negative media attention the College has received over the past few years could have contributed to lower overall rush numbers this year, he said.

“I think part of that is that people read all these stories in the media, people’s parents read them, and they’re hesitant about rushing,” he said. “I really hope that next year, more people will turn out for rush in general.”

Beta rush chair Joseph Geller ’16 said the house had eight more shakeouts and extended two more bids than last year. He said that people who want to rush do so regardless of the existence of a pledge term.

Fabian Stocek ’17 said he decided not to rush because he has found community elsewhere and did not enjoy spending time in fraternity basements freshman year.

Benson said that although he was nervous during the rush process, he had a positive experience and is excited to be a member of his pledge class. During the night of rush, he felt “super welcome and invited,” he said.

The male member of the Class of 2017 said that although he did not receive a bid from his first-choice house, he accepted one elsewhere. After disregarding the “prestige factor” of the first house, he determined that the second house was ultimately for him, he said.

“After I found out I didn’t get in, I was more mad that I decided to rush there versus the other house, where I had a lot in common with people overall,” he said. “It turned out for the better.”

Joel is a member of The Dartmouth senior staff. Geller is a member of The Dartmouth’s opinion staff.

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!