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Sororities change rush policies

By Sharon Price

Over the past several weeks, the MIT Panhellenic Conference has been working to incorporate several changes into the 1991 fall sorority rush.

The ultimate goal of these changes is to ensure fairness both to the women participating in rush, called rushees, and the sororities. "They definitely address all the problems we have had in the past," said Alpha Phi President Christina H. Kwon '92. "They're going to be really effective in rush."

Beginning this year, each sorority must choose six nominees for rush counselors, known as Rho Chis, who will be interviewed by a Panhellenic committee. This committee will then choose three Rho Chis from each group. Kappa Alpha Theta, participating in fall rush for the first time, will be represented by its rush chair.

Rho Chis, who are not affiliated with a sorority during rush, counsel rushees and provide unbiased answers to their questions.

In previous years, each sorority selected three members to deaffiliate during rush and become Rho Chis. The change in procedure was made in response to concerns that Rho Chis were being chosen because they were considered "weak" rushers rather than based on their merits as rush counselors. With the new procedure, Rho Chis will be chosen specifically on the basis of their aptitude for the position.

Another major change is that rushees will be taken from the freshman picnic to the Panhellenic Rush Convocation, instead of directly to individual sorority rush rooms. Rho Chis will then provide them with the necessary information about rush and Panhellenic in general before dividing into groups to briefly tour the rush rooms. At this point, freshmen can freely tour the rush rooms, as in previous years.

The idea of a general convocation is not new. "That's the way it's done at most schools," said Yvonne G. Lin '93, KAT's rush chair. The convocation is intended to "open up all [the rushees'] options," she said.

A similar idea was implemented at MIT when Alpha Chi Omega first rushed with Alpha Phi. But according to AXO Rush Chair Rebecca A. Wittry '93, the idea did not work well at the time because there were only two sororities and all members of both sororities attended. This time, only the rushees and the Rho Chis will attend.

The goal of the convocation is to "get people to rush Panhel," Wittry said. "We want to show people that you have friends in Panhel, not just your sorority."

Sigma Kappa President Ajanta Guha '92 said that the convocation will "lessen the problems about sororities competing for girls in the freshman picnic and get more girls interested in rush."

However, some people have expressed concerns that the convocation will detract from the spontaneity of rush and the freshman picnic.

Attendance at the convocation will not be mandatory. People who do not attend the convocation may still participate in rush and attend open houses.

Other minor changes have been established to cut down on the number of rush violations. The number of sorority members allowed to congregate at each rush table during informal rush has been limited to four in order to avoid a situation conducive to unintentional rush violations. Also, the members of all four sororities were required to attend an all-Panhellenic meeting, where the new rush policies were explained in detail.

In addition to these changes, Panhellenic Conference President Cynthia S. Starr '92 noted that Panhel has discussed rush scheduling with members of the Women's Conference, which includes all independent living groups that rush women, to assure that major sorority and ILG events will not conflict. "We've worked a lot with the Women's Conference so that rushees don't have to limit their choices [by being forced to choose between sorority and ILG events in the early stages of rush]," Starr said.