USC instates GPA and unit requirements for Greek recruitment

Vice President for Student Affairs Ainsley Carry released a letter to the USC community on Friday officially instating new Greek recruitment standards, which require a minimum USC GPA of 2.5 and 12 completed units. It will be effective beginning in Fall 2018.

The new requirements, which apply to organizations in the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council, essentially restrict first-semester freshmen and new transfer students from joining Greek organizations in the fall, as they have not yet completed the necessary units with the University and do not have a GPA. The decision comes after intense debate over whether fall recruitment placed too much stress on first-year students who had to balance the recruitment process with their first week of classes at USC.

Carry said that the new standards, which the University had been discussing since this past summer, were created to allow students a semester to adjust before participating in Greek recruitment.

“This is the toughest year of the transition to college as students experience the most social and academic challenges,” the letter reads. “A number of our peer institutions have implemented policies that support first-year students by allowing them time to acclimate to the university’s academic and social climate before participating in Greek-letter organizations.”

According to the letter, Carry took many opinions and perspectives into account before reaching a final decision, including those of leaders of all USC Greek councils, individual council presidents, Undergraduate Student Government, parents, alumni and students. Carry said he also read statements from the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council, which opposed the new standards.

“In weighing these considerations, the University has concluded that the benefit of allowing new students one semester to acclimate to USC academics and social life far outweigh the benefits of not making this policy change,” Carry wrote in the letter.

Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs Monique Allard will assemble a task force to discuss how to best implement the new standards and address concerns, according to the letter. The task force, which will begin meeting in early October, will include the Greek Council, Undergraduate Student Government and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Leadership.

Carry recognized the importance of Greek organizations and their various contributions to student life, such as providing a community of brotherhood and sisterhood, academic support and philanthropy.

“Fraternities and sororities are an integral part of the campus community and can have a positive impact for members and non-members,” Carry wrote. “These organizations have been an instrumental part of the USC experience dating back to 1889. We believe it is important for us to have a healthy and thriving Greek community as part of our student-life experience.”

In response to Carry’s letter, Panhellenic Council President Jamie Kwong said in an email to the Daily Trojan: “The Panhellenic Council is ready to work closely and openly with the administration to ensure the implementation of the change in eligibility does not detrimentally affect the well-being of our active members, new members, potential new members, or chapters.”

IFC leadership released a letter Friday opposing the administration’s decision, and presenting a three-fold proposal for addressing the new recruitment standards including a public meeting with administrators and non-binding mediation. “Unilaterally implementing policy that limits a first-year student’s freedom of association with no meaningful input from student leaders is contrary to everything this university stands for,” the letter said.

The Interfraternity Council did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.

EDITOR’S NOTE: this post has been updated to reflect the Interfraternity Council’s letter responding to the University’s decision.

17 replies
  1. BigDawgSigC
    BigDawgSigC says:

    I’m here to tell you USC has been misleading and lying about nearly everything for the last two years involving the Greek system and I have seen it first hand. While a Dean smokes crack with prostitutes in Pasadena and a coach takes envelopes full of cash in a Vegas hotel room, members of the Greek community have raised countless dollars for charities across this great nation and especially right here in Los Angeles. The Greek system is what is right about SC and not the source of any real issues for which this misguided and ill conceived policy claims it will address.

    SC Greeks have for many decades and continue to this day to have among the highest grades and graduation rates of all students University wide. SC knows this information all too well. I’m sure if they made a category for you Greek haters, you people would have among the lowest grades and graduations rates. A quick Google search indicates Greeks are not only more successful in college, they are more successful after and make more money over their lifetime and as a group they are more generous to the educational institutions that share their ideals. You Greek haters are generally known for breaking Starbucks windows after your barista shift is over.

    I have news for SC and all you Greek haters out there. It’s probably time to drag SC into court and have this policy and the false and misleading data used to justify it reviewed by a Judge. You don’t take away a select group of peoples’ rights without consequences. Fight On and Fight Greek Discrimination!

  2. Proud Trojan
    Proud Trojan says:

    To be fair, why is the deferment just focused on the Greek system?
    Isn’t finding your way as a Freshman or new transfer student part of the
    experience regardless of the path one chooses? Sure it’s stressful.
    Some doors will close. And others will open. Should our athletic
    teams, newspaper, clubs and marching band not recruit new students in
    the Fall too? Are the mental health issues somehow confined to just
    those seeking a Greek experience?

  3. BoredHousewife
    BoredHousewife says:

    Ainsley Carry is on a mission to dismantle Greek life….. his words are disingenuous. The new policy will create serious financial difficulties for many houses — and he is fully aware of that. Any houses that survive will be limited in membership to wealthy pledges who can afford the higher expenses.

  4. Jimbo the Clown
    Jimbo the Clown says:

    Thanks AC Ron for spoiling the party and relieving yourself on the Constitution people far greater than you fought and died for. You apparently know better about what organizations others should be allowed to join and when. Let me guess, it’s okay to join ANTI-FA and break windows as a first semester freshman?

    Lastly, when I need an Uber at the airport, I’ll be sure and ask for Ron in the little black Prius.

      • Friend of Ron
        Friend of Ron says:

        Clearly our Uber driving friend Ron is nothing but a silly SJW who needs
        to consider hair plugs or one of those Che beret for his photo.

        Toxic subculture? You are obviously one of those Greek haters BigDawgSigC is talking about.

        Lyft allows tips which might be a better fit for you.

  5. Jimbo the Clown
    Jimbo the Clown says:

    This is America and we have a constitutional right to associate with anyone we like. Membership in a Greek organization is a form of association protected under the constitution and this will not stand the legal test that is coming. Time to bring in the lawyers to teach Mr. Carry about our fundamental rights as Americans.

    • Ron Ackner
      Ron Ackner says:

      You have the constitutional right to associate with whomever you like but Greek organizations are governed by the rules of the university and have to abide by those rules. This kind of requirement is actually not even unusual – there are plenty of other schools that have this sort of requirement. As a USC alumnus, I wholeheartedly support this new regulation.

      • Proud Trojan
        Proud Trojan says:

        Great. Then, to be fair, let’s apply this new regulation to our athletic teams, newspaper, clubs and marching band which are also governed by the rules of the university. Or are these the privileged students to whom rules and fairness do not apply?

        • Ron Ackner
          Ron Ackner says:

          Do these organizations have a history of being associated with a toxic subculture? If so then yes, I support the same standard being applied for them.

          • Proud Trojan
            Proud Trojan says:

            Good point, though Dr. Carry did not label Greek organizations as a “toxic subculture.” On the contrary, he referenced them as “an instrumental part of the USC experience dating back to 1889.” Binge drinking is toxic however and its prevalence across all University organizations Greek and non-Greek should be explored. Deferring first semester Greek rush is not the answer to this epidemic. If such a simple solution was the answer then surely Dr. Carry would want all University organizations to defer first semester recruitment.

          • Proud Trojan
            Proud Trojan says:

            Another good point and an extremely important issue, but one that is not isolated to the Greek community. Further, how does a first semester recruitment deferment solve this issue?

    • John
      John says:

      It’s a private university, so they don’t have to follow those rules. Unfortunately, there is no standing here.

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