The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Recruiting policy altered

Like most of its members will do when they hit middle age, the SMU Panhellenic Association’s Spring Recruitment process underwent a major facelift this year. The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), a cartel of sororities and fraternities for women that regulate procedures for its member organizations, established a series of new mandates regarding the procedure for formal recruitment, which took effect for the 2004-2005 school year at all universities that have Panhellenic chapters.

Betty Woods, an NPC consultant, created the new procedures for recruitment. Three years ago, Woods was hired by SMU to consult the university’s local Panhellenic Association on ways to improve recruitment for both the chapters and the potential new members (PNM) participating. Some of the same recommendations Woods made for SMU are a part of the new official protocol.

In addition to the new procedures required by the NPC, SMU’s Panhellenic Conference added additional changes to the rush process, according to Panhellenic advisor Amber Matthews and Student Activities director Arlene Manthey. The new procedures for rush were put in place to help create a more even playing field between the sororities participating in formal recruitment.

“In the 20 years that I have been a part of Panhellenic recruitment at SMU, this has been the most fair process that I have ever seen,” Manthey said.

New additions to this year’s rush procedures included adjustments to release figure requirements, implementing the “P-Rush” process and creating a fluctuating quota.

Release figures are the number of potential new members that must be cut from an organization’s invite list after each day of rush. “Different chapters have to release certain numbers of potential new members,” said Matthews.

The number of women that have to be cut by each chapter is determined by analyzing the recruitment success of the chapter. “Chapter strength” is determined by looking at the success a chapter has had in recruitment over the past three years. Matthews stressed that chapter strength is not how many members a chapter has, but a percentage based on additional factors mentioned above. In addition to reviewing how many new members a chapter gets each year, Panhellenic also looks at the number of “people they invite who want to come back,” said Matthews.

Release figures have long been a part of sorority recruitment, but the new procedures requires stronger chapters to cut larger numbers of PNMs earlier in the week. This gives women who are not going to receive bids from certain chapters the opportunity to look into other houses earlier in the rush process. This also gives chapters whose recruitment is not as strong a leg up by giving them access to more potential new members.

The P-Rush process is a new aspect to rush that determines which potential new members would return to which chapters each day during rush. It was not required by the NPC, but they encourage universities to utilize this format.

In previous years, PNMs would go to all eight chapter houses on the first day of rush. That night, chapters would make their invite lists of which PNMs they would like to have back the next day. The next morning, the PNMs would get a list of which houses they had been invited to, and either by elimination by the sororities or by the PNMs declining invitations, the PNM would go to no more than six houses. The process would continue until there were only two houses left.

Now, after the PNMs visit all eight houses, they get a list and are asked put a number 1 by six houses that they would definitely like to visit. They then put a number 2 by a seventh house that they are somewhat interested in, and a number 3 by the house they are the least interested in. The chapters then make their invite lists based on the new requirements for release figures. The invite lists of the chapters are compared and analyzed by computer with the ranked lists by the PNMs and a list of no more than six houses is given to the PNM for the next day. The process continues each day, eliminating two houses each day until two remain.

The night before PNMs receive bids, they go to two houses and meet with the chapters and are then asked to rank each of the two houses with their first preference. The chapters also make a ranked list of each woman that comes back on “preference night.” This is where quota numbers come into play, as Panhellenic sets a specific number of new members each chapter can accept.

Quota is the number of new members a Panhellenic organization can accept. Unlike release numbers, the quota number is the same for all eight chapters on campus. “The point of quota is to create a level playing field,” said Manthey.

In previous years quota was a set number determined by taking the number of women left in recruitment on the third day and divide by the number of houses on campus. The process has changed significantly this year.

On preference night, Matthews, Manthey, Vice President of Student Affairs Jim Caswell and Dean of Student Life Dee Siscoe compiled the preferences of the PNMs and the ranked lists of the chapters. A NPC advisor was also on the phone with the group overseeing the process. Using a computer program distributed by the NPC, the bid lists are created by using a complex math formula that compares the preference of the PNM with the ranked list of the sorority. The school administrators, with the guidance of the NPC advisor and the computer program, determine a quota range.

According to Manthey and Matthews, there are many benefits to the new fluctuating quota. Having a range for quota enables administrators to fit more women into houses. “If you get quota to low, you have a large group of women who have done nothing wrong but there is not enough space to put them in houses,” Matthews said.

Even with the fluctuating quota there are still PNMs who do not receive bids. PNMs who are “unmatched” – also known as crosscut – are women who “do everything (they are) supposed to do,” but still do not receive a bid, according to both Manthey and Matthews.

This can happen when a PNM is too low on each of the bid lists for the houses that she goes to on preference night. Panhellenic has tools to help alleviate the number of PNMs who are unmatched.

The use of the fluctuating quota is one. Also, each chapter may take advantage of the “free junior” rule. Any chapter may take one junior PNM that will not count towards their chapter total.

Also, there are quota additions. If a chapter meets quota, and it is determined that there are more PNMs that would be unmatched, Panhellenic can give a chapter quota additions.

Quota additions are five percent of the quota. This year’s quota was 47. One chapter took advantage of the free junior rule this year, according to Manthey. If a chapter met quota, had quota additions and given a bid to a junior, the highest number of new members a chapter could take would be 50.

While school administrators do everything they can to place a PNM with a chapter, the SMU Panhellenic Association makes no guarantee that a woman will get a bid, said Matthews.

Panhellenic has three major objectives over the next few years.

“We really want to tighten the release figures – keep adjusting them so the girls have a better chance to meet all of the houses,” Matthews said.

The P-Rush process will stay and continue to evolve because “it gives everyone the best chance of joining the house they want while also doing what is best for the sororities.”

However the most significant change would be a move to mid-fall recruitment. Instead of rushing a week before the second semester, Greek organizations would rush during fall break in the first semester.

One and a half years ago Caswell formed a committee to look at such an issue. The committee has r
epresentatives from all of the sororities and has been conducting research over the past year. Caswell has said that all four Greek organizations must approve the idea before the university can consider the change.

A poll of all sorority members conducted by the committee showed a majority of support for fall recruitment. The committee subsequently brought the proposal before the Panhellenic council and gained approval last spring.

Over the next two months the committee will make formal presentations to all chapters of the Multicultural Greek Council.

The committee is also making plans to present to the National Pan-Hellenic Council at some point this semester.

The principal barrier to a mid-fall recruitment is the Interfraternity Council, according Matthews.

“It’s just the nature of fraternities – it’s hard to get the entire IFC to work together. Disorganization is the biggest obstacle.”

The committee’s goal is to have approval from all four organizations by 2006 so the first fall rush could begin in fall of 2007. The fall rush would be in a trial period for six years, after which the administration and students would evaluate the results.

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