The University’s Inter-Sorority Council will be enforcing a rule in which members will be asked not to attend fraternity events during the fraternity recruitment process.
This rule is handed down by the National Panhellenic Conference, the umbrella organization that governs 26 national sororities, including the 15 sororities at the University.
The NPC’s Unanimous Agreement X states, “each College Panhellenic shall denounce the participation of Panhellenic women in men’s fraternity events when or where the primary purpose is recruitment.”
The rule — which applies to all NPC members — has been in effect since 2011, although it has not previously been enforced at the University, ISC President Allison Palacios said in an email statement.
“The change in enforcement stems from our education on the policy,” the fourth-year College student said. “After the release of the ‘Rolling Stone’ article last year, it became evident that our NPC member groups were not acting in accordance with the policy.”
Six national and international presidents involved with the NPC visited Charlottesville in October to speak with the ISC about the policy, Palacios said.
“[They] flew to Charlottesville to offer us support and guidance as they educated us on the policy and helped us work through some of the challenges we have and would face,” Palacios said. “The ISC supports the NPC in enforcement of this policy and we plan to continue to support our member organizations through education and other efforts.”
Inter-Fraternity Council President Ben Gorman, a fourth-year College student, said the IFC will respect the ISC’s decision and its enforcement of the policy.
However, Gorman said the IFC has never asked women to take part in the recruitment process.
“IFC fraternities invite women to their social events during rush because they have friends, girlfriends, peers who they value spending time with,” Gorman said.
The rule is in place to protect the single-sex status of Greek organizations, Palacios said. These organizations are exempt from Title IX in its prohibition of sex-based discrimination in most programs at institutions that receive federal funds.
“Women's participation in men's recruitment or vice versa puts this Title IX exemption at risk,” Palacios said. “Men's fraternities have a great deal of benefits to offer men and we trust that they are capable of having a successful recruitment without women's participation.”
Palacios said that the rule has been positively received by ISC sorority members.
Gorman said the NPC policy is aimed particularly towards schools in which sorority women actively participate in fraternity recruitment, which is not the case at the University.
“There is a stark difference between having an event and actively recruiting at an event,” Gorman said. “The NPC policy is more targeted toward other universities where the situation is much different, and often times sorority women will often directly participate in men’s recruitment by holding banners up or wearing the fraternity t-shirt and letters.”
A joint council meeting was held between the ISC and IFC last week. No further decisions were made regarding the enforcement of the rule; however, “each ISC chapter is united in its commitment to fair and consistent enforcement of [Unanimous Agreement X],” Palacios said.