Disaffiliating sororities, reinstituting fraternities, and more -- here's your roundup of Greek life news this week.
Sorority Recruitment at Harvard Drops 60%
Following national trends, recruitment at Harvard has dropped roughly 60 percent from previous years, with just 100 women rushing in 2018 compared to 286 in 2017.
The drop in numbers comes as a result of the college’s social penalties, barring “members of single-gender final clubs and Greek organizations from holding student group leadership positions, varsity athletic team captaincies, and from receiving College endorsement for prestigious fellowships,” reported college newspaper The Harvard Crimson.
It’s rumored the policy was enacted to reduce student interest in sororities.
Harvard’s Kappa Kappa Gamma Goes Gender-Neutral
Meanwhile, members of Harvard’s KKG sorority chapter have disaffiliated from the national organization and formed a gender-neutral social club called “Fleur-de-Lis,” also reported in The Harvard Crimson.
After the initial announcement of social penalties in May of 2016, the sorority was the first to go off-campus and gender-neutral. The chapter’s president wrote in an email that Harvard’s administrators had played a significant role in pushing the group to adopt gender-neutral membership practices because of the penalties.
The president also wrote that the organization will likely remain a “female-focused group.”
Tennessee Goes All-In
Tennessee lawmaker Rep. John DeBerry Jr., a Democrat representing Memphis, submitted a bill this week that would ban fraternities and sororities from all state colleges and universities, reported TIME Magazine.
The law is meant to force the discussion about the continuation of assaults and hazing incidents “and just bad behavior” at college campuses across the nation, according to DeBerry. The bill was filed almost a year after the death of Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity pledge Tim Piazza in an alleged hazing ritual.
A Return to Normal at Ohio State
Ohio State fraternities have been cleared to resume recruitment and social events after a school-wide suspension in November. When 11 chapters at the school came under investigation for hazing and other allegations, the university suspended all fraternity activities. According to Fox News, Ohio State said it has been working with fraternities to address high-risk behaviors by changing the culture within those groups. While the school’s Interfraternity Council president said he understands that change won’t come overnight, he believes fraternities are recognizing the need for change.
SAE Gets Called Out in “True Gentleman”
A new book by author John Hechinger dives into the so-called hotbed for abuse, sexual assault, and unchecked alcohol consumption that is American Greek life today. “True Gentleman” focuses specifically on Sigma Alpha Epsilon, considered one of the nation’s largest and most influential fraternities (and heavily represented on Wall Street). According to The Mercury’s review, the book also paints SAE as “one of the deadliest for rushing pledges and the author finds that on multiple campuses women attest that SAE actually stands for ‘Sexual Assault Expected.’”