According to a new policy, first semester freshman are not allowed to rush for any Greek organization.
The Division of Student Affairs implemented the policy this semester, affecting all Greek organizations on campus. Freshman can rush in their second semester.
Specifically, the new policy states, “Any student desiring to participate in new membership education must have at least one semester of full-time matriculation and completed 12 credits earned, at an institution of Higher Education with a cumulative grade point average of 2.25 or higher.”
According to Darren Morton, assistant vice president of the Division of Student Affairs, “an official memorandum was communicated” and finalized by the department last spring to be implemented this semester. This was the result of lengthy discussions with Student Affairs administrators.
“This policy will allow new students the opportunity to acclimate into our college environment and develop a solid foundation prior to making the serious commitment, such as becoming a member of the fraternity and sorority community,” Morton said. Morton explained that “all Greek-lettered” organizations have to comply to this new change because it is “institutional,” which is similar to policies in other colleges in the Northeast.
“Change is a process and is an adjustment,” Morton said. “There was mixed reaction – some supportive and others concerned.”
The policy was created by the department after analyzing several different factors, such as trends in Greek Life, student transition data, and “institutional emphasis on retention.”
However, students like Erin Mellynchuk, president of Gamma Phi Beta, disagree with the new policy.
“It’s silly because if you’re old enough to be in college, you should be able to make your own decisions,” Mellynchuk said. “It doesn’t make sense that 18-year-olds can be drafted into war but not able to join a Greek organization.”
Fellow Gamma Phi Beta member Kristen Sievert, a sophomore, joined Greek Life in her first semester as a freshman, which kept her at St. John’s.
“It was hard because college was a change,” she said. “Being in a sorority, I met so many people right off the bat. I went to a tiny high school and the sorority helped me. Otherwise, I would have transferred out.”