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Rush Numbers Down From Previous Years

Fraternities, ILGs See Mixed Results, While Sorority Numbers On Par With 1999 Total

By Pey-Hua Hwang

With only 335 freshmen making residential pledges to MIT’s fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups, rush results were significantly lower than those of previous years.

Seven of the residential pledges were to sororities, and another 110 females living on campus also joined sororities. With 117 total pledges, sorority rush numbers were equal to those of last year, but fraternity and independent living group pledge numbers were significantly lower than they have been in the past.

“We’ve averaged 365 [residential pledges] over the past 12 years,” said Assistant Dean of Residence and Campus Activities Neal H. Dorow.

Dorow said that, in the year following the death of Scott S. Krueger ’01, only 312 freshmen pledged FSILGs. However, he said that “last year’s rush went surprisingly well,” with a record 386 freshmen pledging residential FSILGs.

“I don’t think there’s any way we would have expected 335,” he said.

There are several possible explanations for these poor results. Dorow said that fraternities had lower recruitment goals this year, possibly as a result of last year’s exemplary rush. “Generally, the [goal] is in the low 400s.” he said.

Interfraternity Council Rush Chair Dakus S. Gunn ’01 was not available for comment.

Houses mixed on results

Rush numbers may have also been affected by the negative publicity which MIT’s fraternities have recently received. Phi Beta Epsilon Rush Chair Reginald E. Rogers ’01 said that “parents were concerned about many issues dealing with frats.”

Sorority pledging levels were similar to last year even though fewer girls attended Women’s Convocation. However, the distribution of pledges varied drastically within a system designed to give all participants equal numbers of pledges. While 34 girls pledged Alpha Phi, Sigma Kappa received only 21 pledges.

Several FSILGs were pleased with the rush results. Student House Rush Chair Jennifer K. Son ’02 said that although rush started slowly, Student House ended up getting four freshmen instead of the three that they were looking for originally. She described independent living group rush as being less “aggressive” than Greek rush.

Katherine S. Graham ’01, the co-rush chair of the Women’s Independent Living Group, said that WILG had numbers of outings and excursions which were comparable to any fraternity.

Mitul C. Mehta ’03, a Zeta Beta Tau brother, felt that his house conducted a rush which was relaxed rather than aggressive. Freshmen at his house took a long time to pledge because they were trying to “one-up” each other in creatively accepting their bids.

Mehta also added that some people were waiting for the results of the dorm lottery to come through and that even though some people got their top choices they “pledged anyways.”

Rogers also added that a lot of freshmen chose to pledge the fraternities on campus because of their convenient location.

Brosnan pleased with rush spirit

IFC President Damien A. Brosnan ’01 said that rush went very smoothly. He said that in his four years at MIT, “this was cleanest rush I’ve ever seen.” He also noted that there were “very few spirit-of-rush errors,” and that there were “no major complaints about any houses doing bad spirit-of-rush things.”

“I think that everything was handled as well as it could have been,” Brosnan said.

Dana Levine contributed to the reporting of this story.