Binghamton University’s new guidelines for fraternity recruitment will work to make recruitment for Greek organizations more similar, but may impose unnecessary regulations.
The InterFraternity Council (IFC) and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life are working together to propose guidelines for formal recruitment this coming spring semester. It appears to be a collaborative effort between the administration and fraternity leaders, and as such, it has notable support so far. It is unclear what the exact reason for these guidelines is. Pushing fraternities to hold events on campus could result in larger oversight, but if that was the goal, then it seems like they would impose stern rules — not simply guidelines.
There appear to be very few, if any, rules currently instated for fraternity recruitment, and the rules concerning recruitment are different for fraternities and their female equivalents: sororities. Sororities have strict guidelines for recruitment, and if they do not follow these rules, they can be fined. It is also worth mentioning that the regulations in question are extremely complicated and unclear. Though we acknowledge that many of these rules come from the Panhellenic Council and national organizations, and thus the University may not have control over them, the rules that come from the University should be the same for both fraternities and sororities.
This isn’t to say that the rules imposed on fraternities should be at the same level as those sororities have to follow. The excessive regulation sororities deal with is unnecessary. No student organization should be fined for not following the smallest particulars of its bylaws.
Noting that, just proposing guidelines won’t bring fraternity recruitment to the same level of sorority recruitment. For one thing, they are only “guidelines,” not hard and fast rules, and therefore don’t hold the same weight. Also, these guidelines can be easily circumvented. Fraternities can simply inform their recruits of unsupervised events that the University does not know about. Increased oversight isn’t necessarily a bad thing — it can make the recruitment process safer for everyone involved — but if the University wishes to extend its reach, then it should aim to do so effectively.
The Editorial Board asserts that the IFC and Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life should find a middle ground. There must be a solution that makes fraternities and sororities more equal, perhaps easing the existing rules on sororities and adding some recruitment rules to fraternities.
It is worth mentioning that this gender gap in the rules is not atypical; SUNY Buffalo mentions formal sorority recruitment on its website, but nothing of the like about fraternities. Other universities, however, run the gamut of regulations — Rollins College in Florida has formal recruitment for fraternities.
It is too early to tell what effect these guidelines will have on fraternities and Greek life as a whole. Though they seem like they could be beneficial in leveling the playing field between sorority and fraternity recruitments and make the recruitment process safer overall, they are still only guidelines and may be easy to circumvent. Only time will tell what the new regulations will bring to Greek life at BU.