The University of Colorado at Boulder is instituting new rules about when students can be recruited into the Greek system.
The rule change followed the alcohol-related death of fraternity pledge Lynn Gordon Bailey Jr. in September and ongoing concerns about under-aged drinking.
"We considered not allowing freshmen to rush at all, but conferred on the strategy to defer rush," said Ron Stump, vice chancellor for student affairs at CU.
Stump and CU Greek Adviser Laura Strohminger met Friday, Jan. 14 with student fraternity leaders to discuss future relationships. A "fraternal organization agreement" was drafted after the meeting to ensure Greek organizations would abide by certain expectations to receive university benefits.
"We are working with different strategies to bring back core values that have been lost," Stump said.
Anna Dukehart, a CU freshman open-option major, has noticed negative stigmas related to the Greek system.
"The community doesn't have the most positive picture of the Greek system here in Boulder," said Anna Dukehart. "I think the system is too focused on the partying and social aspect. A new focus on community service, the brother and sisterhood, and academics will show the community that the Greek system can and will be a positive contribution."
The main concerns addressed by Stump and Strohminger were the situations where "freshman are literally 'rushed' into what we feel puts them in harm's way," Stump said.
The deferment of rush until spring is intended to incline freshmen to join for the right reasons, according to Stump and Strohminger. Freshmen would have time to become familiar with the campus and academics to develop a social foundation that they can turn back to if they feel too pressured with obligations tied to being a Greek member.
The new fraternal organization agreement will focus on prohibiting any form of hazing and use of alcohol in new member programming.
"Although I think that people will be more careful when pledging new members, it seems unnecessary because certain activities will still go on undercover," said Chris Genwright, president of Kappa Alpha at CU.
Other expectations for fraternities and sororities will be to engage a full-time, live-in staff member in the chapter house, prohibit underage drinking at events, abide by the CU Student Code of Conduct and meet national organization's academic standards.
Under the agreement, if these expectations are met, the university will continue to support Greek organizations by including access to student lists for recruitment purposes and use of campus facilities for office space and recreation.
Discussions between the Interfraternity Council and the university are ongoing to finalize the agreement by mid-February.
Stump also plans to sit down with individual organizations to outline future expectations for a better system.
"In the long run, it will be the fraternities and sororities that benefit," Stump said.