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.