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Fraternities hide rush realities

I am writing in response to the recent criticism of and other responses to The Thistle's Residence/Orientation week article, "Rush: An Insider's Guide," written by Archon Fung '90 and myself.

First of all, I would like to make it clear that while Archon and I are members of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, the views expressed in our article do not represent in any way the views of the ATO fraternity as a whole. The decision to write the article lay solely in our hands.

It has been suggested to me that the article was slanderous and bogus and that I should write letters of apology to those affected. Okay, well maybe it was wrong to have tried to let freshmen know about things that can happen during rush. Perhaps it was wrong to give freshmen the information they needed to make informed, rational decisions. I apologize only for having tried to tell the whole truth.

The InterFraternity Conference claims that rush is designed "to help freshmen find an organization which they will be comfortable with for the remainder of [their] years at MIT." ["Thistle belittled IFC efforts on sexism, alcohol," Sept. 1] If that claim is sincere then why is it that in all the information sent to freshmen about rush by MIT and the IFC, there is only the explanation of bidding and pledging but not of flushing? IFC President Tony Gerber '90 urges freshmen in the Undergraduate Residence Booklet to have "three or four houses in mind when you enter rush" and to "spend enough time at each house in order to get to know the people there." Are freshmen advised about what to do when a fraternity pressures them to stay at their house -- or they may risk their chances of getting a bid -- and keeps them from visiting other fraternities in which they are interested?

To the best of our knowledge, the information presented in our article is not available anywhere in "official" literature. All the techniques we described, however, can be substantiated and are, for the most part, common knowledge among upperclassmen in the fraternity system. Perhaps it is better that freshmen are not warned about the darker side of rush. Maybe the IFC is afraid that if freshmen did know about everything they would not choose to live in a fraternity. Possibly MIT also chooses not to fully inform freshmen because the fraternities are a "very important component of our residential program," according to the 1989-90 Undergraduate Residence Booklet. Maybe those fraternity and sorority members that were witnessed throwing away stacks of the R/O Thistle were right to keep the information from freshmen. As a part of the fraternity system, maybe I should see only the good things about fraternities and express those.

Finally, let it be made clear that Archon and I were and are not out to destroy the fraternity system by ruining anyone's rush. We just want the fraternity system to take a good long look in the mirror and change those things that it does not like.

Penn Loh '90->