IFC recruitment increases slightly from last year

69.4 percent of registrants received a bid

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According to the IFC, about 31 percent of the 913 potential new members either dropped from the recruitment process or did not receive a bid

Chandler Collins | Cavalier Daily

The 31 active chapters of the Inter-Fraternity Council held their annual Bid Day ceremony Sunday following a two-week-long recruitment period. 

Since 2008, the average number of registrants for IFC recruitment has been approximately 885 potential new members. This year there were 913 registrants — about 1 percent higher than last year’s 905 registrants. 69.4 percent of those who registered received a bid.

“Ultimately, 634 bids were extended, nearly 50 more than last year, which represents continued interest in and strength of the IFC community,” Cole Chisom, IFC President and third-year College student, said in an email to The Cavalier Daily. “We will not know the number of accepted bids for a few days.” 

Last year, recruitment at the University followed a series of controversial events in the fraternity community across the country that led to intensified criticism over fraternity culture. In 2017 at Penn State University and Florida State University, incidences with excessive amounts of alcohol led to the death of pledges. Fraternities and the recruitment process were under intensified scrutiny and several universities suspended fraternities while they were investigated for hazing rituals. Last Spring, the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at U.Va. was investigated for failing to comply with University and IFC standards regarding alcohol, recruitment and new member education. The fraternity was required to complete an education program on hazing prevention, discontinue physical activities associated with Bid Day, submit a revised list of bid day activities and pay a fine. 

Greek life at the University came under scrutiny Sunday when images surfaced on social media of Kappa Sigma fraternity members wearing Native American attire on Bid Day. The photos were denounced by the IFC for demonstrating cultural appropriation.

This year the IFC implemented new measures to ensure the safety of both initiated brothers and pledges during the recruitment process, including vigilant patrolling by IFC Governing Board members to ensure that fraternities were following the no-alcohol rule and were taking part in safe practices. During Bid Day, while members of the Housing and Residence Life resident staff were on coverage, the University police were present around Grounds to maintain a safe environment for all U.Va. community members. 

“We would like to thank HRL Staff, the Office of the Dean of Students, and our individual chapters for working together to create a safe and reputable recruitment process,” Chisom said.

This year’s Bid Day also coincided with the National Football League’s Super Bowl Sunday, which led to increased concerns about safety.

The IFC did not comment on these concerns nor if any IFC members were arrested on Bid Day. 

According to the IFC, about 31 percent of the 913 potential new members either dropped from the recruitment process or did not receive a bid. First-year Engineering student Casey Welch said he initially signed up for recruitment and considered pledging, but dropped from the process.

“I only got one third round, and I wasn’t really into the guys so at that point I didn’t want to pledge anyway,” Welch said.

Recruitment began Jan. 17 with a mandatory recruitment orientation. The following weekend, all fraternities held open houses for potential new members. Over the next two weeks, the process became more selective as some men received invitations back to houses over three rounds. On Saturday, the potential new members attended Final Hours, their final round of recruitment when they visited up to three of their favorite houses in ascending order of preference.

In order to narrow down their pledge classes and meet the potential new members, the fraternity members treated the potential new members to date functions, free meals and other activities. 

“I went go-karting — that was fun,” first-year Architecture student Turner Deshon said. “You only pay 30 dollars, and you get so much stuff like the food and events. I also went to a lot of restaurants where they gave me free food.”

On Bid Day, each fraternity went to the first-year dorms to hand out bids to their potential new members. The men were greeted outside by the entire brotherhood and hoisted into the air.

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