Recruitment for all Greek organizations, excluding organizations in the Multicultural Greek Council, has been suspended for the spring semester.
According to Meaghan Annett, president of Tufts Panhellenic Council, and Shant Marokhian, president of Tufts’ chapter of the Zeta Psi fraternity, Greek life at Tufts is undergoing changes in structure and policy throughout the remainder of the academic year. These changes come following statements from the Inter-fraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Council in November announcing changes in social event policies for the semester.
While Annett declined to comment on the suspension of recruitment, she stressed that the overall details of changes in Greek Life are not yet finalized. She said that the Inter-Greek Council (IGC) plans to release a statement next Wednesday outlining how Greek life members and organizations plan on improving themselves as a community. Their comments will shed further light on significant changes in the recruitment process and subsequent new member period, she said.
Director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life Su McGlone and leaders from the IGC were not available for comment.
Annett said that through these changes, Panhellenic sororities are hoping to improve the Greek system in the long run by making changes to its recruitment process.
“We always knew as a Panhellenic Council that [recruitment] was something that we wanted to change, but it’s become extremely apparent that we need to change how it’s structured, especially in terms of how recruitment is not representative of Greek life experiences at Tufts,” Annett said.
According to Annett, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life anticipates a visit on Monday from hazing prevention specialist Gentry McCreary from the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management. He will be meeting with each fraternity individually and the Panhellenic sororities as a group, Annett said.
Annett noted that the purpose of the visit would be to discuss how Greek organizations can change recruitment in order to make it more beneficial to new members, adding that the process of making these changes is an ongoing process.
Annett said that the Panhellenic Council statement helped to maintain a channel of communication between fraternities and sororities regarding current problems with the Greek system.
“I think [that fraternities] were really receptive to what we were saying,” Annett said. “I think, to our credit, we said it in a way that they had to listen to what we were saying, and the fact that we were reading it, and they were hearing it from us, rather than from a piece of paper.”
In the IFC statement, all fraternities voluntarily self-suspended, offering no more social events for the rest of the semester, Mahrokhian said.
“I think that’s where a lot of [uncomfortable behaviors] are perpetrated,” Mahrokhian said of fraternity social events.
Mahrokhian believed that this self-suspension would help fraternities examine their own attitudes and policies.
“To reflect and try to change the inherent attitude with Greek life, I think it’s important to take a step back and look at ourselves and think about how we can change and make things positive,” he said.
She also said that as Panhellenic sororities, they wanted to comply with the demands they made of the fraternities.
According to Mahrokhian, the changes enacted by the IFC and fraternities were made partly in response to the letter by the Panhellenic Council as well as to an opinion piece published in the Observer on Nov. 7, which discussed apparent issues within Tufts’ Greek institutions and called for their abolition.
“The Observer article shed some light on some of the systemic issues with Greek life,” Mahrokian said. “The Panhellenic response to that article [did] as well. I think we wanted to be proactive about it and we wanted to move in a positive direction. These were the first actionable steps that we could show for. We want people to know that we’re committed to changing.”
First-year Sarah Tessler expressed support for the Panhellenic response, but voiced disappointment that she would likely not be able to participate in recruitment in the spring semester.
“Although I support Panhel’s previous released statements regarding their interaction with frats, I feel like this step only creates a more tense environment on campus,” she said. “I was extremely excited to rush next semester and really can’t imagine my college experience without it. To me it’s just sad that the extreme, and obviously horrible, hazing problem in fraternities has forced sororities to suffer its consequences.”
Robert Katz contributed reporting to this article.