Admins mull freshman restrictions

As administrators discuss details of the recent ban of Greek organizations’ fall rush period, they are considering a policy that would prohibit freshmen from attending Greek-sponsored off-campus events during the fall.

The committee charged with outlining the specific regulations — which comprises administrators and leaders of Greek organizations — convened for their second meeting Thursday morning. Two presidents of Greek organizations who attended the meeting said administrators suggested ways to define what activities would qualify as freshman recruitment, and one potential policy would ban freshmen from going to off-campus events hosted by fraternities and sororities in the fall. John Meeske, associate dean for student organizations and physical resources, said no decisions have been made, and administrators are exploring multiple options for implementing the new rule.

Avi Arfin ’14, president of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, said administrators were “floating around” ideas at the meeting rather than forcing them upon students. He added that he thinks the policy of banning freshmen from all Greek off-campus events would be “problematic.”

“Campus-wide events are for the sake of having campus-wide events, not to target rushing,” he said.

Under the proposed rule, sororities and fraternities would be allowed to hold on-campus, “supervised” events with freshmen, Arfin said.

Pi Beta Phi sorority president Audrey Ballard ’13, who attended the meeting as well, said she also opposed the idea, adding that she left the meeting “confused about the goals of the policy and not knowing where [administrators are] coming from exactly.”

“I think one of the great things about Yale’s Greek life is how open it is, where people can walk into a party anywhere,” Ballard said. “Limiting freshmen from attending Greek-sponsored events fosters exclusivity and separateness.”

The committee also discussed the announcement by Princeton University last Sunday restricting students from attending events held by fraternities or sororities on or off campus during their entire freshman year, Ballard and Arfin said.

Kara Dreher, a former president of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority’s Princeton chapter, said Princeton administrators justified the measure by asserting that a party thrown by a Greek organization is considered a solicitation of membership, and thus falls under the category of recruitment. But Dreher said a “general consensus” among students at Princeton is that the policy will be difficult to enforce because the university does not officially recognize fraternities and sororities. Most Greek organizations at Yale are not registered with the Yale College Dean’s Office.

Five Yale freshmen interviewed said they understood why the administration was considering the restriction, but would not favor such a change.

Nikita Tsukanov ’15, a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, said he thought the administration should have a consistent policy across all organizations and that this regulation would single out Greek organizations, since many other groups throw parties off campus.

“I understand what the University’s doing, but I think [administrators] ought to take into account Yale’s particular social structure,” Tsukanov said.

Ben Burke ’15 said one of his first experiences at Yale was going to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity’s party during Bulldog Days, and though he said he does not drink alcohol, he thinks parties give freshmen an opportunity to meet people in a “vibrant social environment.” Burke added that off-campus parties gave him an opportunity to meet both upperclassmen and underclassmen.

Lizzie Hylton ’15, a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, said she thinks many freshmen would attend fraternity parties even if the ban were imposed.

“The idea that you can stop freshmen from going to a frat party is unrealistic,” she said. “My biggest concern is that the harsher the regulations are, the more you force it into an underground scene, which is more dangerous.”

The recommendation to ban freshman rush came from a report by the Committee on Hazing and Initiations, which formed after a group of Delta Kappa Epsilon pledges shouted offensive chants on Old Campus in October 2010.

Comments

  • chandlerpv

    Dear administration,

    There has been sexual discrimination at Yale. The Title IX suits have pointed out that Yale isn’t the understanding sexual climate it should be. And, we get it.. you don’t want the greater community to think of Yale as a place of sexual hate. You’ve gone on a public relations tirade to make sure everybody knows that Yale finds sexual discrimination and harassment deplorable. Banning freshman rush, and participation in greek social life is yet another one of those PR moves.

    But ultimately, you are doing absolutely nothing to solve the problem, you are only masking it and hiding it further. Banning freshman from greek life is only going to make greek organizations uncooperative in the future. Its not going to solve any problems. Its just going to make you look good, for a short time, to everybody else. Stop trying to cover your butts and instead do something real, tangible and effective.

    Sincerely,
    Me

  • River_Tam

    Are they f*cking serious?

  • eli1

    Funny that Yale always talks about creating an inclusive community then they turn around and do something that would not only divide the community between freshmen and everyone else, but add punitive repercussions to what is normally viewed as casual contact. I have so much more to say but I am honestly speechless as to how ridiculous and out of touch these administrators are with reality. If any of you new Yale admits read this article, I would warn you to consider the direction Yale is headed and think long and hard about whether or not you want to attend such a school. I can’t believe I am saying this but it might be in your best interest to think about heading to Cambridge, Providence, or Philly over New Haven. Thinking of all the great upperclassmen mentors and friends I met through social interactions my freshman year, I cannot envision myself choosing Yale if these regulations had been in place when I applied years ago.

  • Branford73

    Absolutely ridiculous. Nice of the Yale Admins to assume that the Greeks will violate the spirit of the no Fall rush rule and in order to clamp down on the Greeks place restrictions on a whole class of students who are not part of the Greek system.

    Princeton is not better at everything.

  • Fraternity_Alum

    Will the administration tell alumni that they are not allowed to use the word “fraternity” in front of freshmen, including legacies to whom they are related? Will they punish offending alums by … refusing to accept their donations? Can they prohibit NetFlix from renting movies like Animal House to freshmen with @yale.edu email addresses? Admonish math and science faculty who use greek letters as symbols in their equations, since that is overly suggestive?
    If the administration want to do this, they really should go all out. There’s no point in being partially ridiculous.

  • RM80s

    Princeton’s University’s Committee on Freshmen Rush Policy recommendation on penalties are particularly interesting. According to a piece on “News At Princeton” at that University’s site, the Committee’s recommendations are reported as:

    “–Students who solicit the participation of freshmen in Greek organizations or affiliated activities should expect to be suspended.
    –Freshmen who join, pledge or rush a fraternity or sorority should expect to be suspended.
    –Freshmen who attend or participate in other Greek-sponsored events or activities may be subject to a lesser penalty (e.g., disciplinary probation).”

    http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S33/26/14M08/index.xml

    Now, a cynical reading might observe that in following Princeton, the Yale Administration provides itself some rather convenient cover. Moreover, in such a reading, the Administration’s putting such a proposal on the table might be seen as an attempt: 1) to make less-extensive measures look more palatable by comparison; and 2) to allow particular members of the Administration look reasonable/generous/etc. in conceding components of a full ban…

  • artwhitesman

    Lets see if I’ve got this straight:

    After Yale teaches, via its heralded Sex Week, the pleasures of S&M (“no means yes!”) and various positions (“yes means anal!”), the administration is shocked! shocked I tell you! when some of its students loudly and proudly regurgitate the curriculum, resulting in legal action by other students who are (surprise!) offended. As a remedy and sacrificial lamb, Yale announces it will infantilize its freshmen, by allowing them to make friends only in certain, sanctioned ways. Makes perfect sense!

  • jj123

    I’m no huge fan of frats–actually, I think they cause systemic problems at many universities–but even I think this is ridiculous. Mere attendance at events as grounds for punishment is going far outside the bounds of reasonable university governance. There are plenty of extant laws and rules to cover the things most worrisome to the university about frat parties. Unless a student is breaking these rules or laws, I don’t think Yale can reasonably control what he or she does off campus.

    Plus, going to frat parties as a freshman was the quickest way for me to realize that I thought they were enormously lame.

  • River_Tam

    Ban freshmen from sex week.

    • xfxjuice

      Ban freshmen from every organization not related to Politics or Finance.

      • silliwin01

        Gonna have to ban them from intro econ classes then

  • ldffly

    I’d like to ask one question. I have not been on the campus for many years. However, what I read, and to some extent, what I’ve been hearing about administration handling of the college system doesn’t make me happy. I have to wonder whether the fraternities are gaining adherents, drawing interest, because of administration failure to support the college system–understand ‘support’ in any way you find relevant. So are these proposed rules really about Title IX issues, or keeping freshmen out of trouble, or are they a backdoor way to force student allegiance to the colleges?

    If college life were to become more attractive, maybe frat life would become less attractive. As much as I dislike fraternities/sororities, students should be able to form attachments as they see fit. If they enforce these rules, I can’t wait to see the results. I also can’t wait to see the alumni selling the university and its vaunted college system to prospective students if current students prefer the fraternity life.
    It could become a tough sell! LOL

  • artwhitesman

    >”If college life were to become more attractive, maybe frat life would become less attractive. ”

    Bingo. Fraternities exist because they fulfill a need. If the Greek system is growing at Yale – which apparently it is – then Yale needs to take a lesson from fraternities, not vice versa. No one is required to join a fraternity, and no one will force a freshman to attend a fraternity party. Those who do partake are happier at Yale for it, and judging by alums, have fond memories of Yale because of it.

  • theblueandwhite14

    What is the point? Underage drinking? Pretty sure most people are already drunk before reaching High St. I’m not sure what Yale is trying to prevent here, but what they’re doing is fragmenting the social scene even more. In addition, I don’t find frat parties to be particularly threatening for freshmen. In fact, after my fair share of fall frat outings, I barely went to them spring semester. People give them a try and then decide whether it works for them or not.
    If they want better control of freshmen, they should discourage students from getting drunk *before* they leave Old Campus. As Tsukanov suggested, creating a rule that applies to ALL parties is perhaps more sane than this. I truly don’t understand why Yale creates such drastic, overdramatic, and irrelevant rules yet turns a blind eye at the real underlying issues. Simple warnings and a video at the beginning of the year will not prevent that sheltered freshman from becoming a raging alcoholic by the end of the semester. And banning freshmen from frat parties will probably do more harm than good anyways.

    • theblueandwhite14

      Let’s eliminate: a cappella rush, tour guide rush, the God Quad, Safety Dance, Spring Fling…