At TCU, students are flung into the whirlwind of Greek “rush” before they know what hit them. The noun rush, as defined by means “the act of moving hurriedly and in a careless manner.”
Curiously, “rush” is also a term used by many to describe sorority and fraternity recruitment. Coincidence?
Recruitment for Greek organizations begins even before classes do, taking precedence over academics and denying students the opportunity to experience TCU from outside the Greek lens.
“It is an individual decision for each student to determine if it’s best to wait a semester or year to join any organization they might be interested in joining, not just fraternities and sororities,” said Susan Adams, dean of Campus Life.
It may be true that students have the option to decide for themselves to wait a semester before participating in recruitment. But on a campus that is 40 percent Greek and was ranked in the top 10 by the Princeton Review for its Greek scene, there is overwhelming pressure for students to join immediately. And some feel disadvantaged if they choose to wait a semester before making the decision to take part in recruitment.
“I think (Greek organizations) are a lot more selective about spring rush because there is such a fewer number of people rushing,” freshman Adam Benz said.
Benz, a kinesiology and psychology major, did not go Greek his first semester and says he does not regret his decision to wait.
“Freshmen commit to fraternities before getting to know the people involved in them. They join first and get to know people later,” he said. “When you rush right when school starts, you only know what each fraternity tells you about itself. You don’t know the people at all.”
The massive emphasis on Greek life at TCU not only takes hold of students from the very beginning of their college careers; it also divides the student body.
“I think Greek life is too big of a deal here. Immediately going Greek kind of closes you off from the entire social outlet at TCU, besides your fraternity,” Benz said. “Granted, rushing allows you to eventually become close to the people in your organization, but you’d meet a bigger variety of people if TCU weren’t so Greek.”
TCU should require students to wait a semester before allowing students to become involved in the all-consuming, time and money investment that is Greek life.
By opening the doors for students to go Greek before even testing the waters of campus life, TCU is doing its students a disservice. Students are compelled to become affiliated with a fraternity or sorority before even getting a taste of TCU. Requiring freshmen to wait would put all students on a level playing field with those who prefer to get settled academically and socially before decided to take part in recruitment.
But some say, if this rule is implemented it should apply to all student groups.
“Of course, the students who are fraternity members, also think it would be unfair if all student organizations are not held to the same rule of inviting new students to join their groups,” Adams said.
On the other hand, other student organizations do not cost $50 to join – excuse me, to attempt to join – and even more money, we’re talking hundreds of dollars, for membership dues.
Southern Methodist University and Baylor University students are required to complete a minimum of 12 hours at a college or university before joining a Greek organization. Baylor does not accept transfer hours as a substitute.
The system of requiring first year students to wait until their second semester before taking part in recruitment is called “deferred recruitment.” This system, which both Baylor and SMU operate under, still allows upperclassmen the choice of rushing in either the fall or spring.
TCU should adopt a policy of deferred recruitment to allow its freshmen to appreciate and become comfortable with other aspects of student life before thrusting themselves into the Greek system. Greek life at TCU is overbearing, and it puts pressure on students from the moment they step on campus. Students should be allowed more time to decide for themselves if they are ready to rush onto the Greek scene.
“The symbolic message of having rush take place before classes begin is enormous,” said religion professor and Faculty Senate chair Andrew Fort.
“No single intervention on this campus would make as big of a difference as moving rush later.”
Jordan Cohen is a freshman English major from Lewisville, N.C. Her column appears every Wednesday.