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.
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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.