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Rules, Regulations Govern Fraternity Rush Revelry

By Zareena Hussain
ASSociate News Editor

Yesterday, at 6:16 p.m., Interfraternity Council Rush Chair Jorge F. Rodriguez '98 said, "Let the rush begin," and so began, for many freshman men and women, a once in a lifetime experience.

For the next two to three days, freshmen may explore their living options by rushing fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups, and touring dormitories. During this time there exists a wide and sometimes confusing array of activities offered by fraternities and independent living groups in which freshman can participate.

"Anything you can think of [fraternities] probably do," Rodriguez said. Activities offered range from parties to paintball, he said.

"Everyone is trying to put on their best faces," Rodriguez said, "Each fraternity wants the best people they can get [who] fit the character of their house."

"At the same time, you talk to the freshman of the responsibilities" of being part of an FSILG, Rodriguez said. You tell them that "with all the fun there also comes responsibility."

Bids handed out starting Sunday

Following the lobster and steak dinners, the trips, and the exhaustion, freshmen are extended bids by most fraternities Sunday morning at 8 a.m.

"A few houses do it later on," said David C. Day '98, chair of the IFC Judicial Committee. Freshmen may begin pledging fraternities on Monday morning, Day said.

There are three status levels used to define fraternities once bids are extended. When a fraternity is status two, they are still accepting referrals for possible pledges from other fraternities. Status one is used to describe a fraternity which is no longer extending bids but still waiting for freshman who have bids from more than one fraternity to pledge. Status zero means that the desk is closed and the fraternity is no longer rushing.

Many rules govern fraternity rush

Fraternity rush is defined more by sets of rules than any ordered calendar of events.

Last year, fraternities began enforcing a dry rush. Houses are not to have alcohol anywhere in the presence of freshman during rush, Day said.

"The bond of brotherhood is not defined by alcohol," Rodriguez said.

"The idea is to allow freshman to make a clear-headed decision and not be influenced by alcohol," Day said.

Another major rule involving fraternity rush involves the hiding of freshman. It is a violation of rush rules to "hide" freshman by not registering them in the clearinghouse system, Day said.

The intention is to give other houses a fair chance to meet the freshman, Day said.

There also exists a no badmouthing rule during rush. Fraternities are not allowed to speak badly of other fraternities to freshman. "[Badmouthing] is detrimental to everyone," Day said.

Referrals to be more positive

In addition, there have been some changes to the rules regarding referrals, which occur when a fraternity recommends that a rushee explore a different housing option. Instead of the rush chair also being in charge of referrals, each fraternity has an assigned referral chair.

"We are watching referrals more closely,"Day said. The IFC wants to avoid flushes, in which a fraternity simply tells a freshman that they are no longer being considered as pledges for the fraternity, Day said.

"We want to make sure that it's done positively,"he said.

"[The fraternity rush chair] wasn't taking the appropriate time to make sure the referral was positive and constructive," Rodriguez said.

The IFC is also keeping a constantly updated list of fraternities who still need pledges to meet their quota, Rodriguez said. This list is sent out to other fraternities for purposes of referral, he said.

Violations to be tried

To prevent rush violations and punish offenders, the IFC has an internal system of enforcement and policing.

Each house is assigned a temporarily deaffiliated investigator from within the IFC to be a recorder and advocate for the house. Each investigator is responsible for three to four houses, Day said.

During rush, the investigators meet nightly with the IFCJudcom chair and discuss any incidents or possible violations. Once rush is over, the information will be compiled and discussed with the rush chairs. Most reports of rush violations are "house vs. house," Day said.

Trials for rush violations will be held within the first month after rush.

The biggest mistake a freshman can make is closing themselves off, said IFC president Iddo Gilon '98. Freshman should be encouraged to explore all their opportunities.

But while organizations like the IFC seek to involve as many freshman as possible the decision to participate is ultimately up to the rushee.

"No one can push you to do rush, it's your decision," Rodriguez said. "A freshman is totally in control of his rush."

Campus housing always an option

Even when a freshman has committed to live in a fraternity or an independent living group, he still has the option to move on campus if off-campus life is not for him.

"We guarantee every freshman a place in the residence system," said Neal H. Dorow, associate dean for residence and campus activities and adviser to FSILGs.

But even with this option, a freshman may remain unhappy. "I can't promise them it will be their first choice," Dorow said.