IFC shortens fraternity recruitment amid concerns

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The Interfraternity Council executive board shortened its formal recruitment process for next January from three weeks to two.

The decision comes as a result of incidents involving excessive drinking and was also passed to parallel the recruitment timelines of similar universities.

Based on the experiences of the previous years and the vision we as an IFC have for the Lehigh fraternity community going forward, we realized that we had to make big changes in the way we recruit,” IFC recruitment officer Zach Neumann, ’17, wrote in an email. “The amount of citations, hospitalizations, parent phone calls and other incidents was simply unacceptable.”

When describing the specific incidents that prompted the IFC to make these changes, incoming IFC president, Bryce Macomber, ’18, said excessive drinking was the biggest concern throughout this school year.

Macomber said although there were other troubling incidents that occurred in the past, such as using a woman as the center of an event or events that would practice prejudice, this year’s biggest issue was with the way alcohol was used.

IFC adviser Corey Gant said there were many phone calls from parents about their children getting hazed and being forced into excessive drinking. The recruitment process is supposed to be “dry,” or alcohol-free, and he was concerned at how much people were drinking.

The second major reason for the change was because Lehigh had one of the longest processes across all universities. Macomber said most universities typically have a 10-14 day process, which served as a benchmark for making Lehigh’s process two weeks long.

With the new change to the process, Gant also saw this as an opportunity to “revamp the purposes” by holding events that would revolve around IFC’s values.

Macomber said the recruitment process begins on the first Sunday after winter break and ends the second Friday of classes.

Aside from the usual house tours, Macomber said the focus on open events is being enforced this upcoming year. Each fraternity is expected to hold at least two open events, and IFC is willing to offer stipends to fraternities that hold three or more events.

Macomber also said during the recruitment process, there will be a mandatory late-night non-alcoholic event and landmark events as a way to form a relationship with new members.

Recruitment chairmen are also mandated to hold meetings with IFC members to ensure the new practices are being enforced.

Neumann wrote that he formed a recruitment change committee to get more IFC voices heard, which was “really important with a process as large and impactful as recruitment.”

Gant said IFC plans on holding organizations more accountable and sanctions are becoming stricter. The IFC Judicial Board will make sure organizations are being held responsible throughout the year by giving fines and issuing suspension on recruitment.

Although Macomber said the change to the IFC process had no relation to the Panhellenic Council’s being only one week long, they were “modeling after theirs in a sense to add more structure.”

Neumann said the goal for the recruitment process every year is to improve and foster a safe environment where new members are able to choose the chapter that’s best for them.

At the end of the recruitment process, Macomber said before signing bids, new members will fill out a survey to reflect on their process and experience in order for the IFC to gain feedback to continue making the process better.

“It is a good time for this change,” Gant said, and the IFC’s incoming executive board is currently working on this project to make the process more purpose-based.

Macomber said IFC members frequently wear their letters, and everything they do reflects on their organization and IFC in general. He said members need to embody “respectable men” to have a positive impact.

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