Which schools are friendliest to fraternities? How can we support the fair treatment of students who wish to join a fraternity? Introducing “Fraternity Friendliness” scores, from FraternityMan.com
Each month, we’ll take a look at the policies and costs associated with fraternity membership at a number of college campuses. I am a big fan of free association and college administrators treating fraternities no differently than other student organizations. So, what goes in to a friendliness score?
- Information Accessibility – Does a college’s Greek Life page and/or an Inter-Fraternity Council website provide information relevant to its Friendliness score. In other words: How well does a website inform the public and/or prospective members
- Recognition Policies – Do a school’s expansion and recruitment policies unfairly target fraternity students and/or organizations?
- Cost of Entry (CoE) Inhibitors – To what extent do fees and/or dues charged by the college and/or IFC limit the accessibility of fratenrity membership. (Considered “meh” [orange face] if costs exceed $50/year or “unfriendly” [frown face] if costs exceed $100/year)
The Recognition Policies and Cost of Entry Inhibitors account for 4/5 of the final ranking because they affect a student’s ability to join or start a fraternity chapter.
Definition of Terms
You may come across some unfamiliar terms while reading these scores. Here are some simple definitions:
- Open Expansion – The process for establishing a fraternity is no different than any other student organization
- True 365 – The school does not limit the ability of fraternity organizations to recruit members throughout the year. Limitations may come in the form of deferred recruitment or mandatory training for potential members with pre-set times (effectively determining when new members may be recruited)
- Rush Fee – The cost of taking part in formal recruitment or, in rare cases, the fee a school/IFC charges for men to join a fraternity at any time.
- Greek Life Fee – This fee is charged by the school and applies to students who join any fraternity or sorority. The purpose of this fee is typically to help pay for additional staff related to fraternity/sorority life.
- IFC Dues – What an Inter-Fraternity Council charges each of its member organizations. These are typically flate fees billed per member.
I focused this research on Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) organizations since that is what I know best and since that is where the most drama is. Plus, I believe the best chance for a more accessible fraternity experience is through the NIC (or a new association!?!?), and that the NPC does enough work stifling women’s association rights without the help of college administrators.
The first group of schools come from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Unfortunately, the majority of websites were lacking in information. SO, if you attend one of these schools, or have additional information, please let me know via Twitter or Facebook. It would be kind of you to include some sort of proof (a screenshot or link to where the policy/fee is explained).
UNFRIENDLY – Clemson’s fraternity websites are user-friendly and contain a wealth of information. Unfortunately, university and IFC policies inhibit the growth, diversification, and accessibility of fraternity organizations at Clemson in favor of protectionist expansion and recruitment policies. Its IFC fees are comparable to others in this conference (and lower in many cases), but the school’s Greek Life fee makes membership in a fraternity less accessible.
- Info Accessibility – Clemson’s website provided a wealth of information and prominently features information related to its Greek Life Fee. The only thing I had trouble determining was whether it has its own accreditation (Checklist of Standards) requirements or if its awards packets are totally optional.
- Recognition Policies – Clemson maintains a closed/managed expansion policy.It does not support True 365 recruitment, enforcing pre-rush requirements which differ from requirements to join other student organizations.
- CoE Inhibitors – Clemson’s Rush Fee is $50. IFC dues are $10/member. Its Greek Life Fee is $120/person/year. Its IFC costs are on par with those of other ACC schools, but the Greek Life Fee makes fraternities less accessible.
Florida State University
NEUTRAL/UNFRIENDLY – Florida State’s costs are not as inhibiting as those at Clemson, and none are charged by the school (to my knowledge). Unfortunately, it’s expansion and recruitment policies unfairly target fraternity organizations, and its website is a little clunky.
- Info Accessibility – I could find the majority of what I was looking for on FSU’s Greek Life and IFC web pages, but the layout is not mobile friendly. The information is spread out, ineffectively labeled, and requires some exploration.
- Recognition Policies – Florida State enforces closed/managed expansion. It does not allow for True 365 recruitment. Mandatory pre-recruitment programming was scheduled for one day this spring (according to the website). That means anyone who wished to join a fraternity after January 12 is **** out of luck.
- CoE Inhibitors – Rush Fees vary from $20 to $40 depending on when a person registers. There is no mention of a Greek Life Fee and IFC Dues are currently set to $12/person.
North Carolina State University
UNFRIENDLY – NCSU has lots of information on its website, but overbearing recognition policies. The costs its fraternity community adds to the existing costs of membership are high on the front end, but generally manageable.
- Info Accessibility – I found what I needed to find on NCSU’s website, though it took some digging. Things could be better organized with clearer, more uniform formatting.
- Recognition Policies – NCSU is a closed/managed expansion school and does not support True 365. Beyond limitations on true year-round recruitment, NCSU’s recruitment policies are overbearing and monitor every aspect of the new member process.
- CoE Inhibitors – I am not sure if NCSU charges a Greek Life Fee. It has one of the highest Rush Fees in the ACC at $65, and its IFC Dues are also relatively high at $15/member. So the upfront costs are far more inhibitory than the long-term costs. NCSU’s IFC would do potential members a favor to lower the rush fee, even if it means an incremental increase in IFC dues.
Georgia Institute of Technology
NEUTRAL – There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to Georgia Tech’s fraternity community, and the leaders of that community would do themselves a favor to prioritize transparency. (Especially now that they are probably quarantined due to the coronavirus and have nothing better to do than update the website).
- Info Accessibility – NEUTRAL – Georgia Tech’s Greek Life pages are not the most user-friendly or mobile-friendly, but they provided most of the relevant information. I could not find IFC dues, true Rush Fees, or Greek Life Fees – for example.
- Recognition Policies – UNFRIENDLY – Georgia Tech enforces closed/managed expansion and is not a True 365 school. Its recruitment policies are not as overbearing as NCSU’s, but they do not account for the fact that any activity can and should be considered a recruitment activity.
- CoE Inhibitors – NEUTRAL – This rating could easily change, and shift the school’s overall rating into “unfriendly” territory. None of the fees I search for are mentioned, but the IFC bylaws do note that each new member must pay $10 to a scholarship fund.
There were too many question marks for me to dive into each category with each of the following schools. So, provided below are the “Overall Ratings” for the remaining ACC schools. (Notre Dame and Boston College are excluded because they do not recognize Greek Life.)
UNFRIENDLY – I could not find some of the information I was looking for on Virginia Tech’s website, and it does a poor job of explaining IFC recruitment and its year-round recruitment policies. That said, it runs the typical game of a limited number of pre-rush information sessions required to join a fraternity. Virginia Tech also enforces closed expansion. Its IFC dues are the highest among ACC schools at $20/person, but there is no mention of Rush Fees or Greek Life Fees.
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
NEUTRAL – UNC supports a protectionist, closed expansion policy. Its recruitment policies are not totally clear, but the school does require potential fraternity members to jump through hoops not required of other student organizations. IFC dues are relatively low at $12/person, and there is no mention of Rush Fees or Greek Life Fees (as far as I could see).
University of Pittsburgh
UNFRIENDLY/NEUTRAL – Pitt enforces a closed expansion policy, and its recognition policy relies on its bloated “Cathedral Standards of Excellence” program. Its recruitment policies are … thorough (which is an “unfriendly” thing when it comes to treating fraternities like other student organizations). Pitt has low IFC dues at $8-$12/member, and no mention of Greek Life Fees or Rush Fees. Its website is pretty straightforward, but emphasizes the school’s policies rather than the organizations.
Syracuse | Duke | Wake Forest
UNFRIENDLY – Each of these school’s websites lack information relevant to potential members to learn about the costs of fraternity membership. So there is no easily identifiable way to determine Rush Fees, Greek Life Fees, and IFC Dues. All three enforced closed expansion policies and have limitations on recruitment which target fraternities. These include some deferred recruitment policies, mandatory training with limited dates, and bureaucratic monitoring of recruitment activities.
University of Miami
NEUTRAL – There is a good chance the University of Miami would fall into “Unfriendly” territory if its website provided much of any information related to Greek Life. What we can confirm is that it does not support True 365 and that it has a relatively low Rush Fee of $25. Personal experience leads me to believe that Miami maintains a closed expansion policy, but I will wait on confirmation before changing its rating.
Do they Even Have Greek Life?
I could not find any of the information I was looking for on the Greek Life or IFC websites for University of Louisville and University of Virginia. So, we might as well label them “Unfriendly,” since they basically prevent outsiders from learning anything until (I guess) they go through the recruitment process. I will provide ratings for each school as information becomes available.