The Undergraduate Student Government Senate passed a resolution Tuesday against deferring greek rush. This came as a response to the Faculty Senate recently passing a resolution advocating for students not to participate in greek rush until they earn a USC GPA. The senate floor, jam-packed with dozens of members of the greek system, proved that the idea of deferment had become quite unpopular on the Row.
Sen. Jacob Ellenhorn spoke in favor of the resolution. Ellenhorn, who himself has not been involved in greek life, said that deferred rush was a means of limiting the freedom of students.
“I don’t have a personal story to share with you guys. I didn’t get involved in greek life because that was my choice,” Ellenhorn said. “The Academic Senate and the Graduate Student Senate pushing this idea of deferred recruitment … what they are really pushing is trying to take choice away from our student body, and that is unfair.”
Ellenhorn explained that if students were “smart enough” to get into USC, then they would be fully capable of making decisions on how to spend their freshman year.
“And deferred recruitment makes absolutely no sense,” Ellenhorn said. “They’re saying that you can’t be stressed in the fall, but you can be stressed in the spring. I don’t really understand that.”
Some of the concerns of the faculty resolution were that fall recruitment would have a negative impact on the GPA of incoming freshmen. Alex Keane, vice president of recruitment for the Interfraternity Council, explained that since 2010, the all-greek average GPA has been higher than that of all undergraduates, with the exception of one semester. He also mentioned that fraternities include 297 presidential and trustee scholars.
“Being the vice president of recruitment, I already saw that the numbers are up since years previously. This is one of the best rushes we’ve ever had, with over a thousand guys coming out for recruitment,” Keane said. “We’ve been raising the standards significantly over this period of time.”
Keane said the wording of the Academic Senate resolution confused rushing with pledging, which he said shows of a lack of understanding for the process. He explained that those involved in its drafting had not consulted Keane or his fellow directors on how the greek system works.
“All new members, while they’re pledging, are required to have hours within their fraternity where they have be there studying,” Keane said. “This is four hours a week, and literally everyone is in a room, and I’m walking around making sure they’re doing homework.”
Another issue raised was the notion that greeks were unfairly being targeted. Present students pointed out that other intense clubs and organizations, such as the Trojan Knights and the USC Marching Band, have not been subject to such intense GPA and time-commitment critiques. Sen. Eric Dubbury said that students can be subject to stress in other areas besides greek life.
“I chose over my last four years to do over 23 different organizations, internships [and] I worked three jobs. I know what it’s like to hustle and burn the candle all ends,” Dubbury said. “I don’t think anyone on the greek system knows that any less than I do.”
Dubbury argued that though some greeks might be dealing with academic issues, the academic or graduate senates should not be putting shackles on what greeks can and cannot do. Dubbury, who has been part of the marching band, confessed how that had also been a huge time commitment, with 40 to 50 hour weeks, on top of schoolwork.
“A lot of people in the marching band have probably the same issues that people in the greek system do. Especially their freshman year, they are juggling a lot of commitments, the traditions, going through their first year of marching,” Dubbury said. “But if marching band was in the spring, it would be no better than if it was in the fall. If football was in the spring, it would be just as bad.”
Dubbury explained that what the marching band did to address academic issues — and what, in turn, the greek system has also done — is have the members support each other, offer resources, put them in touch with academic counselors and have tutors on buses on their way to games.
“We made it work because we worked as a team,” Dubbury said.
The resolution passed unanimously, with surprisingly little opposition.
After this discussion, the Senate voted against the resolution that called on USC to join the Syria Consortium of the Institution of International Education. The majority of senators said that though they supported the goals expressed in the resolution, they did not think the USG Senate was the proper vehicle for advocating on this type of issue that could be considered politically charged.