The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 70.0°F | A Few Clouds

IFC Rush Rules Aim to Keep Rush Fair

By Daniel C. Stevenson
Associate News Editor

Independent living groups rush under a set of rules designed "to keep any fraternity or sorority from taking advantage over another other Greek society," said Mohan Gurunathan '97, a member of the Interfraternity Council Judicial Committee.

ILGs should make the freshmen available, and "their whereabouts should be known to everyone," Gurunathan said. "The worst violation is trying to hide a freshman."

The IFC rules are also designed to "protect the rushees during rush," according to the preamble of the IFC rush rules. The rules focus on maintaining communication with rushees at all times, allowing equal access by all ILGs, and providing safety to new students.

Last year, 10 ILGs were charged with rush violations, and over $3,000 in fines were collected.

Living groups are required to record when each freshman goes to sleep and when he or she wakes up. This information, along with each's freshman's movements from living group to living group, is tracked by Clearinghouse. With this information, living groups can wait for freshmen and try to talk to them as soon as they wake up.

Some living groups will wake a freshman up earlier and take them to an activity, Gurunathan said, denying other groups the chance to talk to the freshman.

"Things like that are pretty blatant," Gurunathan said. "But it doesn't happen all that often."

SAE led '93 violations

Last year, the IFC collected nearly $3,000 in fines from ILGs for violations during rush. A total of 19 charges were brought against 11 living groups. Most of the violations were benign and dealt with matters such as improper message-handling and failure to comply with Clearinghouse procedures, Hijirida said.

Five violations, the highest number of the ILGs, were charged against Sigma Alpha Epsilon, which was put on probation by the IFC two years ago. SAE was found guilty of three of the charges, and the probation was extended an additional year.

SAE was found guilty of rushing freshmen during the airport shuttle and not calling in to Clearinghouse overnight. It was also found guilty of violating a sanction placed on it by a 1992 IFC review board. According to the IFC, the sanction related "to calling interested houses at least a half hour before certain freshmen left of trips."

SAE also paid the most fines, $1,050.

"We expect a certain amount of fines ... but we try to run as clean a rush as possible," said SAE rush chair David M. Sukoff '95 in an interview last year. "We get fined a lot harder than any other house because of our reputation, because we are watched so closely," he said.

Alpha Delta Phi was found guilty on two of four charges, and fined a total of $400. The charges were bad-mouthing another living group and poor message-keeping.

Theta Xi was also found guilty of bad-mouthing and fined $250.

Zeta Psi was found guilty of not giving messages to freshmen and was fined $500. ZP was already on probation for the message violation, and "it was felt that this additional sanction was necessary to insure there was no chance of any calls to slip by Zeta Psi," according to a Judcomm report.

Delta Upsilon and Pi Lambda Phi were fined $50 and $100 respectively for failing to have three telephones operational at all times. DU and ZP were fined $100 for failing to have a staffed front desk between 7 a.m. and 12 a.m. Sigma Phi Epsilon was found guilty of the same charge and fined $50.

The following fraternities were charged but found not guilty: Alpha Tau Omega, Phi Gamma Delta, and Lambda Chi Alpha.

Many violations accidental

Common rush violations involve saying unfavorable comments, even by chance, about other living groups, Gurunathan said. "If you can't say anything favorable, it's wise not to say anything at all."

"A large number of the violations that happen are really unintentional because someone didn't understand the rules completely," Gurunathan said. "That doesn't mean it shouldn't be prosecuted."

"We have a lot of rules," said Judcomm Chair David H. Hijirida '94 in an interview last year. "It seems kind of picky, but they are there for a reason. Because of that you're almost always going to find rush violations."

Student investigators go around to different living groups throughout rush to check for violations. "They have assigned houses that they have to go to and check up on," Gurunathan said.

Many of the rush violations are hard to prosecute, Gurunathan said. To press charges, a living group or a rushee must make a complaint to an investigator.

A trial is held within a month of rush for most violations, Gurunathan said. "Judcomm is really busy, even for weeks after Rush." The final decisions are made by a review board composed of one elected representative from each living group.

The IFC levies fines for many rush infractions. Other living groups might be "put on probation and need to be continuously monitored," Gurunathan said.

All fines are deposited in the IFC treasury and used to fund projects like Greek Week and various speakers.