Director of Student Life and Leadership Stephan Lamb confirmed there are currently conversations occurring about plans to change this system, whether that means removing the deferred recruitment policy for fraternities or changing sorority recruitment to match the policy.
“It doesn’t make sense to have a difference in policy,” Lamb said. “Regardless of what we do, I want to engage students in the dialogue.”
Since the enactment of deferred recruitment for fraternities, the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) has pressured the university to roll back the restrictions. The Interfraternity Council (IFC) supports this position, arguing that deferred recruitment is detrimental to the greek system, according to Lamb.
“(The NIC) believes that open membership is one of the cornerstones of the American experience, and that should not be denied,” Lamb said.
The NIC took a hands-off approach at first to Cal Poly implementing deferred recruitment, but later began asking for the policy to be dropped. Last year, according to IFC president Jason Colombini, the NIC requested the university change the deferred recruitment policy, but no formal proposal was submitted, so no action was taken.
This year, Colombini plans to turn these requests into a reality.
“It’s one of my priorities this year as IFC president and I think it’s really hindering the potential of the greek system,” he said.
Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong was actually one of the first to discuss changing the deferred recruitment policy, Lamb said. He recently expressed to Lamb his wishes to make sorority and fraternity recruitments consistent with each other, though Armstrong did not specify whether he would prefer the abolishment of deferred recruitment or its implementation for sororities.
“He would like to see consistency at Cal Poly and not have it differentiated by gender,” Lamb said.
According to Lamb, the solution must be found this winter to allow enough time for fraternities and sororities to prepare, because the new rules would go into effect for next year’s fall recruitment.
Colombini said he plans on putting together a task force comprised of himself and four other fraternity presidents to help take action on the matter. He has been in contact in the past weeks with the NIC in order to establish a formal proposal to give to the university.
The policy of deferred recruitment was implemented in the wake of the tragedy of Carson Starkey’s death, in the hopes that prohibiting students from rushing during the fall of their freshman year would allow them time to adjust to the college lifestyle.
“There is a concern that because of the immediacy of the rush experience, students get placed in an organization that may or may not be consistent with their values,” Lamb said.
The reasons behind this disparity between fraternity and sorority recruitments are many, but center around the fact that sorority recruitment as a whole has historically been more organized and prescripted by the National Panhellenic Council, according to Lamb.
“Fraternities have a very different culture that surrounds them and they really function as independent organizations without the benefit of this overarching structure,” Lamb said.
“There’s more freshmen not showing up because they don’t realize that you can still go meet people in the fraternities and build that base for winter,” he said.