MIT’s fourth oldest fraternity, The Number Six Club (No. 6), has rejoined the Interfraternity Council after being an Independent Living Group for almost six years. No. 6, MIT’s chapter of Delta Psi, had left the IFC in 2008 due to disagreements over the Clearinghouse system used during Rush.
The decision to rejoin the IFC was the result of a vote by No. 6’s house members. “We also still wanted to consult with our alumni, particularly the ones who made the decision to leave [the IFC],” said Steven “Jeremiah” Collins ‘16, one of No. 6’s co-presidents. “There was a unanimous vote of approval to rejoin the IFC, with the exception of one abstainer.”
According to IFC President Haldun Anil ’15, the co-presidents of No. 6 approached him because they felt they lacked “adequate representation” with their previous affiliation and hoped to become part of the IFC. Anil said, “I told them that basically because our values align pretty closely that it would be relatively simple and straightforward for the IFC to advocate on their behalf as well, in addition to the rest of the fraternity community.”
Anil said the IFC “had a unanimous vote of approval to admit them back into the IFC.”
“Culturally, we really fit in with the IFC,” said No. 6’s other co-president, Eva “Niki” Edmonds ’15. “Within the IFC there’s a lot of focus on how a fraternity reinforces its values.” Edmonds said that No. 6’s values include the love of learning and mutual improvement. She also said that through the IFC, there is more support for hosting social events than there is through the Living Group Council.
Edmonds also said, “unlike the ILGs, we are responsible to a national organization.” Collins added, “I think we just structure ourselves very much like a fraternity, and have trouble relating to ILGs.” Edmonds cited a focus on alumni connections and an organized system for Rush events (including the new Clearinghouse system) as benefits of fraternity status not available to ILGs.
“Their culture, their social scene, their values fit in better with the fraternity community as opposed to the ILG community,” said Anil. “So it just felt like a logical re-merger, especially since we… talked through their concerns with Clearinghouse, which they don’t have anymore.”
No. 6 left the IFC in 2008 primarily because they believed that the IFC’s Clearinghouse system, an online portal that allows fraternities to track freshmen during Rush, was a violation of the freshmen’s privacy.
The Clearinghouse system has been changed since 2008, relieving No. Six’s concerns, according to Collins. While the old system allowed fraternities to see all the events attended by a given freshman, each fraternity can now only see what events each freshman attended at their own house.
Fraternities can also see if a freshman is currently checked into an event at another fraternity. “This system is functional, and much less invasive in terms of privacy,” said Collins.
No. 6 will be participating in Rush in the fall of 2014. Edmonds and Collins noted that No. 6’s Rush events will not change much from previous years, with the exception of minor changes to abide by the IFC’s standard Rush regulations. They said that being a member of the IFC conveys the values and culture of No. 6 more accurately to incoming freshmen. “From a Rush perspective, it’s a lot easier for people get an accurate representation of us as a fraternity,” said Edmonds.
According to Anil, there is currently no provision for a fraternity re-joining the IFC after disaffiliating, meaning No. 6 must go through the IFC’s new member procedure.
Becoming a new member of the IFC entails a process of going through three stages. The first stage is associate membership; associate members cannot vote at IFC meetings and they only pay half dues. Next, the new member becomes a probationary member, then a full member. In order to progress through the stages, the new member needs a vote of fraternity presidents.
The entire process takes about fifteen months. No. 6 will have to go through these stages in order to rejoin the IFC as a full member.
“We are exploring some other ways for perhaps facilitating the process in the future for members that were members in the past,” said Anil, “but as it currently stands, that is the only real way to become a member.”
No. 6 is now one of two co-ed MIT fraternities in the IFC along with Tau Epsilon Phi (tEp), but tEp’s national organization, and therefore the IFC, only recognizes its male members. The only women currently represented by the IFC are members of No. 6.
No. 6 became a co-ed fraternity in 1969. When asked about being referred to as “brothers” in IFC proceedings, the presidents of No. 6 did not express concern. “It’s not meant to be a statement; it feels more like a functional word. There’s a little bit of strangeness because we’re such a minority, but that’s not intentional or too much of an issue,” said Edmonds.
Anil said that no concerns over gendered words in IFC documents had been raised, but said, “If women of No. 6 or No. 6 as a whole express concern about it, we will address that.”
Anil said he does not know of any other ILG planning to join the IFC, but said he would be open to the idea if their values aligned with the IFC’s.