Editor's note: This article is a part of a head-to-head. Read the other article here.
Sorority recruitment is a form of emotional and physical hazing.
When people think of hazing at the University, they immediately think about the tragic death of former Phi Delta Theta pledge Maxwell Gruver following a drinking game pledges were forced to participate in called “Bible study.”
Not to take away from this incident, but alcohol is not the only form of hazing. Asking girls to walk up and down sorority row, wear dresses in the heat and be judged by every girl you speak with is a form of mental hazing.
The definition of hazing states, “any activity which subjects another student to potential physical, mental or psychological harm for the purpose of initiation or admission into, affiliation with, continued membership in, or acceptance by existing members.”
Recruitment is a six-day event in which sororities choose new members, but it often causes mental harm. The girls have to speak to active members in each sorority and be judged on a single interaction to decide whether or not they make it to the next round.
Recruitment consists of four rounds. On the first round, each girl visits all 12 sorority houses. During the second round, girls see a maximum of nine houses; third round six houses’, and the last round three houses. Walking in the heat to all of these houses is exhausting, especially in heels. The Panhellenic community does make accommodations for the event like tents, snacks and ice water during the rounds, but it doesn’t take away from them standing outside in the heat almost all day.
The morning before each round, girls are told they may or may not get a call telling them they can’t come back. The call signifies they have been cut from every single house. Each round, girls are trying to prove themselves to current members so they will feel accepted. They tell the girls that they’re going to find their “home” at the end of the week. If they make it to the end of the week, they’ve made small talk with roughly 30 girls who’ve deemed them worthy or unworthy of a spot in their glorified club.
Some may make the argument that recruitment forces people out of their comfort zone, but what about girls with mental illness? Girls who have social anxiety or depression may not feel comfortable talking to girls all day for six days straight.
Sororities are exclusive. This is a fact. Recruitment allows sororities to judge each girl on how they look and how they act before actually getting to know them.
The sororities can be exclusive based on a girls race, body type and personality type. Undergraduate students at the University are 78.7 percent white and in sororities it is 90.4 percent white. This type of exclusivity allows this exclusion of minorities to happen.
This also allows sororities to keep girls out who can’t afford it. Excluding sorority dues, during recruitment each round has a dress code. Girls have to buy at least three dresses and a nice skirt or shorts for the week. This could potentially dissuade girls from signing up because they can’t afford it.
As a sorority girl who went through recruitment, I can see the pros and cons of it. But, at the end of the day, it’s a form of hazing. While all these new hazing laws are being passed, maybe the sororities are being overlooked.
Ashlon Lusk is a 19-year-old mass communication sophomore from Houston, Texas.