As of yesterday morning, fraternity recruitment resulted in 317 new pledges, an increase from previous years. Last year’s rush produced 299 pledges, Interfraternity Council President Daniel S. Eads ’08 said. IFC rush officially ended this year on Wednesday, Sept. 12.
A total of 472 bids were given out to 373 students, said IFC Recruitment Chair Christopher A. Fematt ’08.
Based on the data currently tallied by Fematt, which represents approximately 35 percent of bids, 1.5 percent of bids are from the Class of 2009, 9 percent are from the Class of 2010, and the remainder are from the freshman class.
Phi Beta Epsilon received the most pledges this year, with 23, according to the IFC. PBE was followed by Pi Lambda Phi with 19 pledges so far, according to Pi Lambda Phi. The IFC declined to comment on the pledge numbers of other fraternities.
Rush began with the Sept. 1 Greek Griller and was quickly followed by standard steak-and-lobster dinners, paintball trips, and midnight jaunts. Bid Day, when promising frosh are handed invitations to join fraternities, was on Friday, Sept. 7.
“The main purpose of these activities is to educate freshmen,” Eads said. Beyond all the food fights and dawn-to-dusk events, fraternities want to find freshmen that can truly identify with the brothers and feel comfortable as a member, Eads said.
Another goal is to “promote interfraternalism,” which was seen at the Alley Rally event held on Amherst Alley, said Assistant Dean of FSILGs Kaya Miller. Miller said she is “proud of the event [the fraternities] put together and how they displayed themselves.”
All of rush is carefully regulated by a set of rules that have been agreed upon by the IFC and the president of each fraternity, Miller said. Event schedules must be submitted to Fematt, in advance. Sotirios D. Karanikas ’08, IFC vice president, said that the IFC Judicial Committee coordinates “random and spontaneous inspections [for alcohol].”
Overall, rush is run by a “self-governing system,” Fematt said. “Each house acts in its own interest, and its members are aware of the consequences [of misconduct].”
Despite these rules, there have been infractions in the past few years, “many of which were not reported to IFC,” Miller said. Last year, an incident involving the serving of alcohol was reported, which sparked some question regarding the flexibility of rush rules. Miller said that she “did not see any more or fewer recruitment violations” this year compared to previous years. “Alcohol wasn’t reported this year,” Miller said. “Most of the violations were relatively minor.” IFC declined to comment on any specific infractions from the past few years.
E. Darryl Walton ’09, IFC JudComm chair, described JudComm’s policy of due process to be fair and unbiased. “Upon receiving a complaint, JudComm handles a detailed investigation,” he said. The board, which consists of “representatives sent by the fraternities [whom] are held in high regard,” hears the allegations for all rush-related violations and determines the sanctionsm, Walton said. Any house that broke the code “would have to deal with scrutiny from IFC, MIT, Boston, and the surrounding community,” Miller said, so the brothers do not take the rules lightly.
PBE Rush Chair Xiao Wei Chen ’09 explained that the house was required to “get rid of all the alcohol or lock it in the [graduate resident tutor’s] room until the end of rush, even for brothers over the age of 21.”
One change in this year’s rush procedure was the brothers’ ability to wear their letters and openly state their affiliation. Brothers were “excited to wear their letters,” Eads said. The change in procedure “allowed freshmen to see how proud people were to be Greek,” Karanikas said. “Brothers could wear their letters in pride.” This development also made the rush process “less aggressive because fraternity members didn’t have to secretly tell [the freshmen their affiliation],” Karanikas said.
The Clearinghouse system, which records the names of rushes, their times of arrival and departure at each fraternity, and their destination, was also instated this year. Miller said that the system has both advantages and disadvantages: it can keep track of each person in case emergency contact is necessary, but it can also be interpreted as a violation of privacy. However, it’s “not meant to be a ‘big brother,’” Miller said. “Freshmen can request to opt out of being tracked if they feel uncomfortable.”
Female involvement in fraternity rush decreased this year because of concurrent sorority recruitment. Chen said that the “lack of females was anticipated” and that “houses asked rush girls to help out knowing that they had other obligations.” However, both recruitments were successful and no large impact was made on rush.
Even after rush has ended, fraternities are still encouraged to recruit. The administration, through the FSILG office, offers support to all members of the Greek system, and Miller said that “there have been no major conflicts [between IFC and the school].”
In terms of future improvement, Fematt said he hopes to “improve online resources” and “give more information about all fraternity events,” even after rush ends. For more information, visit http://www.rush.mit.edu/ or http://www.ifc.mit.edu/.