As fall recruitment winds down, members of Greek Life find themselves reflecting on what went right, what went wrong, and what just simply did not happen. For some chapters and potential new members (PNMs) alike, the topic of "dirty rushing" and "suicide rushing" are hot on everyone’s minds.
First, a little disclosure: I am a member of Theta Nu sorority. This editorial wasn’t written in bitterness for how our recruitment turned out, nor was it written to specifically bash the Greek Life system. Instead, as a senior member of Greek Life who just went through her last round of recruitment, I felt the need to address some concerns I’ve had for the past four years.
Now, some definitions.
Dirty rushing is when a Greek chapter specifically tells a PNM that if they want that chapter, it's theirs. It can also include drinking/partying with PNMs and speaking to a PNM during the ‘silent period’ - the period after final party but before bid day where members of Greek Life are forbidden to speak to PNMs. Dirty rushing is illegal at Otterbein.
Suicide rushing is when a PNM decides only one chapter will do for them. This can happen if they are being dirty rushed by a chapter, but sometimes it happens purely on the side of the PNM. The PNM can get it in their head - sometimes by falling into chapter stereotypes - that they only want one chapter, so they don’t even bother looking at the others. While suicide rushing is not illegal, it is highly discouraged.
I heard both these terms quite often when I was a freshman going through recruitment, but I wasn’t entirely sure why they were such a big deal. Who cares if a chapter tells me they want me? Who cares if I suicide a chapter I know I’ll more than likely get into?
After three rounds of recruitment on the other side, I can tell you why these terms are so important. You never know what a chapter is. You know the stereotypes, of course, but sometimes the stereotype that floats around is false.
All this to say, suicide rushing and dirty rushing are dangerous. They point a PNM in a single direction when their true destination could be somewhere behind them. And even though both of these things should not be happening, they seem to happen every year.
Once bid day comes around and photos start going up on social media, people begin passing phones around and asking variations of the same question: “Did you ever see this person go through recruitment?”
Every year, there are multiple people who crop up in new member classes that I just never saw go through recruitment. Some people I did see in the form of a letter, which PNMs are encouraged to send to a house if they cannot attend their house tour, novelty or final. Some people I didn’t see at all because despite it being suggested to write a letter, we never got one.
Why is this allowed? It’s loopholes like the letters that allow PNMs to slip through the cracks and suicide a chapter. Letters should be required when a PNM misses a recruitment event they accepted an invitation to - even if it’s late. It’s a courtesy thing. It’s not fair for some chapters to be written off before a PNM even meets the members.
Why are the punishments for dirty rushing not enforced more often? Even if a PNM is afraid to come forward and admit they were dirty rushed, it isn’t always needed. Pictures appear on social media of chapter members drinking and/or partying with PNMs, and those images never seem to make it where they need to go.
What about speaking to PNMs during the silent period? Sometimes it cannot be avoided (ex. the PNM is a roommate, classmate or sibling), but most of the time it can. Some of the younger new member classes don't seem to know what the silent period is, maybe due to the fact they have never had a 'normal' recruitment.
And what happens if a PNM is dirty rushed to a chapter, and the chapter doesn’t end up taking them?
Once again, this editorial was not written in bitterness. It was written to bring light to something that seems to slip through the cracks more and more each year. Letters should be mandatory if missing an event, punishments for dirty rushing should be enforced, and suicide rushing should be taken more seriously. A chapter shouldn’t be written off by a PNM before they even meet the members.