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IFC Rules Confuse Freshmen

By Shankar Mukherji


Residence selection can be a confusing and overwhelming process for incoming students which is only compounded by the many rush rules that govern FSILGs.

For example, a FSILG member may not speak to a freshman prior to the residence midway. The 2001 Interfraternity Council rush rules state that “conversing with freshmen shall not be allowed between the end of Summer Rush and the Beginning of Rush Week...”

Once rush has begun, FSILGs must follow a set of complicated procedures for checking freshmen out of the clearinghouse system.

Many freshmen do not understand these rules. “Some of [the rules] are ridiculous,” said Haiming Sun ’05. “I mean we’re supposed to get as much information as we can,” he said, “but we can’t if no one can tell us anything.”

Other freshmen echoed Sun’s sentiments. “I really don’t like the rules,” said Mitun Ranka ’05. “I mean it’s like they’re trying to push us into dorms.”

Rush rules to ensure fairness

IFC Rush Chair Joanne Chang ’03 said that the rush rules are intended to “make sure that everyone has the same opportunity as everyone else. They’re to ensure that everyone starts on an equal footing.”

IFC Judicial Committee Chair Thomas B. Fisher ’02 said that houses which have contact with freshmen prior to the beginning of rush may have an advantage over houses who do not. “It would certainly be better for rush in general (to eliminate the restrictions on talking to freshmen), but not for every house,” he said.

Although the current set of rules is quite complicated, Chang said that enforcement of the rules is based more on whether FSILGs display good conduct rather than the letter of the law. “There is a thing we call [the] ‘spirit of rush...’ We’re trying to make sure that every house has a clean and fair rush,” she said.

However, Chang said that next year may give the IFC a chance to revise the rules, though they have remained relatively untouched for many years. “If you look at the rush rules from 1981, and you look at them now, there are few changes,” she said.

Current rules may hinder rush

IFC President Rory P. Pheiffer ’02 said that the current rigid rules are only necessary because there is a lack of trust within the IFC. “I think the reason fairness is an issue is that there is a lack of trust. I wish that houses would trust each other more and be more of a community,” he said.

Pheiffer believes that the current rules may turn some freshmen off, and don’t really change the outcome of rush. “The rules that people tend to bend and break aren’t going to determine whether or not you get freshmen. There is enough diversity in the freshman class that every house should be able to get freshmen,” he said.

Transfer student Eric Dominguez ’04 was particularly annoyed by the rush rules, saying that they “produced a negative image of fraternities.”

“The fraternities...ignore me because they’re afraid of getting fined,” he said. Still, the feelings were not universal.

“I like the room I stay in,” said Yiuka Leung ’05, “and I want to stay there.”

“I don’t plan on joining a sorority. I don’t see the need for it,” said Gul Gurkan ’05.

Some rules change this year

Chang said that there have been several changes to the rush rules which pertain to freshman women. For example, it has become a rush violation to remove freshman women from Killian Kickoff. This is an attempt to raise attendance levels at women’s convocation, which occurs later on in the day.

Another change is that freshman women won’t be able to spend nights at houses which don’t house women during the year. This ensures that they will be available for overnights at all-female and coed ILGs.

Dorm rules less strict

Though not as stringent as those for FSILG’s, dormitory rush rules are still built on the same principles of “fairness and not doing anything to mess up another’s experience,” according to Jeffrey C. Roberts ’02, Dormitory Council Rush Chair.

“The rush rules for dorms are less strict and there’s different enforcement,” said Roberts, “especially since there are already freshmen temporarily living there.”

The dorms simply do not operate on the same membership ideas as the FSILG’s, said Roberts.

“Since not everyone in a dorm is required to take responsibility for the actions in their dorm’s rush, enforcement is much more difficult,” said Roberts.

Roberts also said that the very nature of dorm rush affects the rules of the game. “Dorms just want to present an image of the dorm to give freshmen a sense of choice, though ultimately the housing lottery has the final say,” he said.

Dana Levine contributed to the reporting of this story.