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Rush week flushing helpful to freshman and ILGs

No one benefits when people who do not get along are allowed to live together. "Flushing," a living group's rejection of a freshman during Residence/Orientation Week, is meant to take someone who would not fit in a living group and direct them toward a group that would better suit their needs. This is not as negative as the administration makes it out to be: the point is to get rushees where they belong. It is hard to make freshmen realize that the purpose of rushing is for them to find the right place to live, not to live in the "coolest" house or be with the "coolest" people

To the individuals who feel rejected by the system of rush: I know what you have experienced. It hurts, and you feel rejected. You may think you would have been happier in a certain living group, but you would be living there if that were true. Living groups are eager to find people compatible with their living style. Very few living groups reject people who would have fit in. You would not be happier living in the house from which you were rejected; in fact, both you and the house would have suffered.

If you cared about a particular house, and it cared about you, the house would be acting in your best interest by not inviting you to live there. The houses care very much about the rushees, and most people do not feel cheated or rejected.

Does the administration really feel that it would solve any problems by forcing freshmen to live together? Consider the segregation issue: Not allowing living groups to have freshmen would kill many of those ILGs, and there would be fewer spots for rushees. Fewer openings would obviously necessitate greater competition for remaining freshmen. The price of living in an ILG would rise substantially. This alone would prevent a large percentage of those that want to rush from doing so.

As it stands now, rents at fraternities, dormitories and the only housed sorority are about the same. If the price of living in a fraternity or sorority were to sharply increase, these living groups would lose people to dormitories, and would eventually fold. Does the administration feel that no freshmen would feel rejected if they all lived together for a year? In any system, someone will feel rejected. With the new computerized dormitory preference system, freshmen usually wind up getting their first or second choice, be it a dormitory, fraternity or sorority. The administration is fooling itself if it feels that the proposed changes would magically change anything.

It is easy for those not attached to or unhappy with their living group to ask why ILGs exist at all. The bottom line is that many people benefit greatly from living where they do. I can speak only from personal experience, but I am sure many others agree with me. I had fun in the dormitory, but I enjoy the fraternity more, because this is where I belong. I have also seen people who loved the dormitory and would not have fit into or enjoyed my house.

People with whom I have spoken in both living groups feel the same way. Taking away the diverse living possibilities (which is what would happen if most of the fraternities would fold) would take away many of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. A new system would segregate the MIT community more than it is now. Let's face it: the fraternities that would fold are the ones that encourage diversity. The "white Anglo-Saxon male fraternities across the river" will not fold; they will always have enough money, and will continue to be successful.

MIT helps living groups place freshmen in a number of ways, of which computerized room assignments and Clearinghouse are two examples. At a meeting between representatives of each ILG, students discuss what type of person they will rush. I would like to see a similar meeting devoted to the subject of flushing. I would like to see houses not only get fined, but shut down when they flush in a way that shows they do not care about freshmen and are only interested in their house. This rule might seem unenforceable, but with a few more Judicial Committee representatives and a few non-MIT helpers, it could be done. Flushing is serious topic -- but it is no reason to change the current housing system.


Robert L. Wilson '92 is a senior in the Department of Mathematics.

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