The End of Fall Rush?
It looks as if a long-discussed change to the University’s Greek system may finally happen, although in the usual administration manner – in secret, with little student input. I’ve heard that Vice President of Student Affairs E. Royster Harper has presented a plan at an informal Regents meeting (where they are able to conduct their business without the annoyance of any members of the public or pesky reporters) that would establish as goals for the Greek system live-in advisors in the houses, alcohol-free housing, a total ban on hazing, and pushing back recruitment by prohibiting freshman living in the dorms from joining any campus group that has a “pledge-term” period. The changes come after a Sigma Chi pledge suffered kidney failure during a hazing ritual last September. (See “IFC expels frat for hazing” and “Sigma Chi vacates residence in light of hazing incident.”
All these changes may happen as soon as Fall 2005, if approved by the Regents. The last one seems a stroke of genius: the University houses virtually all freshman in their dorms, and could easily introduce into their Community Living Standards a rule prohibiting freshman from joining the Greek system – or risk being ejected from the dorms, or other punishments. The issue of University control over the Greek System is somewhat nebulous since they are technically independent organizations, however the University retains many levers of control, particularly through their Office of Greek Life.
Although naysayers have long complained a delayed rush would cause housing problems, I suspect they’re just worried they might have trouble recruiting members if they didn’t have access to freshman at their most vulnerable moments at the beginning of freshman year. This is an issue the Daily editorializes about each year, most recently last September: “Why Rush? Greek Rush should move to winter semester”
It seems worth noting that leaders in the Greek community have been moving towards alcohol-free houses for some time: former IFC executive board member Marc Hustvedt proposed exactly that in a 2001 Viewpoint titled “A Challenge to the Community” saying that “… the idea of treading water, waiting to see if the idea of moving the parties out of the fraternity houses can work, is ridiculous. Now”s the time we need to back up our claim that Michigan is home to the “leaders and best” and get out there an make the effort to make this work.”