Fraternity rush slightly down-- Dorm requests average; Bexley could be fined
By Reuven M. Lerner
Neal H. Dorow, the advisor to fraternities and independent living groups, and Eliot S. Levitt '90, the staff assistant for residence programs, sent out a memorandum to dormitories yesterday instructing them to release the telephone numbers of freshmen temporarily housed there. The notice coincided with a lower-than-expected number of pledges at ILGs at the end of the first day of pledging.
Dorow flatly denied that the housing office was using any contingency plans, adding, "the numbers are behind, but it's not poor until it's over. . . . we're maybe 30 behind the number of last year's. But that doesn't mean that they won't catch up."
The memorandum, dated yesterday, reached dormitories between 3 and 8 pm, according to dormitory deskworkers. Dorow said the memorandum was sent out at 8 pm, although a MacGregor House deskworker said that it reached there at 6:30 pm, "hot off the presses."
The memo, addressed to "house managers, house desks, house presidents, and house R/O chairs," explained that "The ODSA [Office of the Dean for Student Affairs] is relaxing its restriction against releasing frosh phone numbers to fraternity representatives. Before bids were extended, it was important that frosh not be called en masse to attend dozens of events, etc. However, at this point it is important that fraternities resolve their outstanding bids. Therefore, if a representative from a fraternity calls for a freshman, please either give them the phone number or forward the call to the appropriate phone."
Several dormitories have already decided to modify or ignore the request. An East Campus deskworker said that the dormitory would only connect ILGs to freshmen who had already received bids. MacGregor went even further, saying that they would ask the permission of any freshman contacted before connecting them with a calling ILG.
Dorow was unsure of how his office would deal with such policies, saying that because of the Labor Day holiday, they had not been able to meet and discuss the policy at length.
Dorow did not think there was any reason for concern. "A couple [of ILGs] that I thought might be in trouble -- they don't seem worried," he said.
Indeed, some ILGs were reporting very successful rushes as of last night, in some cases more than their goal. According to Clearinghouse, Beta Theta Pi had 14 pledges (two more than their goal), Sigma Alpha Epsilon had 18 (three more than their goal), and Delta Tau Delta had reached their goal of 12 as of yesterday evening.
But other ILGs reported tremendous difficulties as of last night. Clearinghouse reported that two -- Alpha Delta Phi and Student House -- had pledged only one new student each, from goals of 12 and 8, respectively.
Including ADP and Student House, 13 out of 33 ILGs reported a pledge rate of 50% or less to Clearinghouse last night.
Dorow explained that the low numbers reflect a number of people unsure of what they want to do, not necessarily a bad rush. "I've been calling the houses, and they're sitting on a lot of people -- it's just that the guy hasn't said, `I pledge.' If we're way behind on Thursday or Friday . . . then we can say it looks like people have made a decision," he said.
In related news, Dorow said that sorority rush, which concluded early this morning, had gone extremely well, and that each sorority would receive 29 new pledges.
cards turned in
Freshmen, meanwhile, turned in their dormitory preference cards yesterday, indicating in which dormitory they would prefer to live.
One of the biggest differences between dormitory selection this year and in the past is a computer program, written in part by Levitt, that automates the housing process. Until this year, dormitory assignments had been made at a meeting between various dormitory representatives and Institute staff.
Levitt admitted that there had been a number of bugs in the program -- including one that allotted over 23,000 empty rooms in MacGregor -- but said they had all been fixed by the time the program was run yesterday evening.
He added that while the results from the program's first run were complete, he did not want to release statistics until more freshmen were given the chance to pledge ILGs.
"Regardless of how this year compares with last year's fraternity rush, a number of people always pledge Tuesday, and we like to have as accurate a picture of who will be in the dorms when we run the program," Levitt explained.
In computerizing the dormitory assignment process, Levitt said that he was able to increase the number of people who received an assignment in one of their first-choice houses. Under the old system, students who did not get one of their top choices were often given one of their last choices, making many of them unhappy.
He explained that instead of removing a random selection of freshmen from a dormitory that was oversubscribed, the program would try to take those whose second- and third-choice houses still had empty spaces.
While Levitt admitted that results could not be guaranteed, he noted that using the same algorithm on freshmen's temporary assignments resulted in fewer than 50 people getting their third-choice dormitory or less.
Levitt noted that the number of cards handed in by freshmen was about average, indicating that rush would not be significantly slower than usual.
Freshmen found filling out their cards close to yesterday's 5 pm deadline were generally content with the way housing assignments were done.
"It's interesting that you get
a choice; most schools seem to assign you housing for freshman year. It seems like there's less bouncing around after freshman year," said Darias Sapri '95.
Dormitory Council Judicial Committee Chairman Anthony J. Moulen '93 described this year's rush as "very clean for the most part, with a few minor violations here and here, and a few major violations that were of little consequence to the freshmen."
He explained that it was official procedure to wait until the day after Registration Day to formally deal with the violations, at which point the entire list would be made public. Even then,
Moulen said, it would probably be inappropriate for residents of dormitories to find out what punishments had been meted out to other dormitories.
Moulen said that DormCon and the InterFraternity Conference, which have the power to hand out rush violations during Residence/Orientation Week, are allowed to fine dormitories up to $500, or require their members to perform community service.
Two dormitories, East Campus and Bexley Hall, were singled out in particular for having an outstanding number of rush violations.
Levitt explained that the Residence and Campus Activites office, which helps administer
R/O Week, tries to have an event for women on the first Friday night new students are on campus. "We traditionally authorize women's events on Friday night, for two reasons: One, for women who aren't rushing [sororities] . . . second, if we're going to hold a women's event, we might as well hold it in a place that has traditional problems attracting women."
He said that "apparently, some one -- or some people -- put up some posters that were intended for internal dormitory use . . . that neglected to say that the event was only for women."
"That was a poster violation," Levitt noted.
This contradicted Moulen's assessment that "I can probably tell you right now that there were no real postering violations."
Bexley may face
Bexley, which has been accused in the past of having "anti-rush" activities, stands a good chance of being fined for various rush violations, according to several people in charge of R/O Week.
"There have been a number of things going on at Bexley. In fact, I think they're still going on, so it would probably be premature for me to comment on it," Levitt said.
Several Bexley residents claimed that events such as chaining a graduate tutor to the entrance gate, taking freshmen on a "jogging tour" of the dormitory and hanging a "ROTC = murder" sign in the courtyard were simply part of the Bexley character, and not necessarily rush violations.
Levitt explained that it is difficult to determine "the extent to which strange things go on at Bexley, or that went on at Bexley, were part of anti-rush, or part of Bexley character. There are a lot of people out there who would say that the two are synonymous, but I think that a reasonable, unbiased person could look at the things that were going on, and say that [certain ones] were intended to turn people away," while others were simply meant to be humorous and disgusting.
Although Bexley is not a member of DormCon, and does not have any house government, Moulen said that DormCon would still be able to impose penalties, either through the housing office or through the Bursar's Office. He said that dormitories have the option of passing the fines along to the individuals involved or asking each dormitory resident for a small portion of the fine.
Bexley residents, when told of the possibility of being fined, said that they would protest any such DormCon action.