Updated: April 6, 2016 at 3:50 p.m.
Beginning in fall 2017, freshman will no longer be able to join Greek life in their first semester at GW, according to a University release on Wednesday.
Students will have to complete at least 12 course credits on campus before being eligible to participate in recruitment for all Greek chapters, according to the release. The new policy would give freshmen more time to acclimate to campus before attempting to join fraternities and sororities, officials said in the statement.
The change will significantly alter the way chapters in the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Association and Multicultural Greek Council are able to recruit new pledge classes and is the first major change to the recruitment policy in recent years, the release said.
In the fall of 2017, only sophomores, juniors and seniors will be allowed to participate in fall rush or recruitment and freshmen will have to wait until the spring. Beginning in the fall of 2018, recruitment for all students interested in joining Greek chapters will take place exclusively during the spring semester, the release said.
A recruitment evaluation committee – consisting of Greek and non-Greek affiliated students, parents, faculty and staff – presented options for recruitment to the Center for Student Engagement staff, the release said.
The 15-member committee reached their decision after researching recruitment policies at GW’s peer schools, distributing a student-survey and reviewing existing studies about how best chapters can recruit pledge classes, according to the release.
Director of Student Involvement and Greek Life Christina Witkowicki said the new policy will ensure that students have their best possible experience as undergraduates.
“Most importantly, it will afford first-year students a chance to fully learn about GW’s fraternities and sororities, establish a G.P.A. and develop sustainable relationships on campus prior to making a commitment to Greek life,” Witkowicki said.
Mollie Bowman, the former Panhellenic Association president, said the change would enable chapters to focus on priorities other than recruitment during the fall semester. She served on a recruitment evaluation committee this semester and has been a part of a Greek life task force.
“Taking the emphasis off of year-round recruiting will allow the fall semester to be a time of reflection, so that chapters can participate in fall programming and focus on education,” Bowman said in the release.
The recruitment evaluation committee was recommended by a separate Greek life task force which examined recruitment as well as sexual assault training and prevention and hazing issues.
This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the recruitment evaluation committee decided to defer recruitment. Officials in the Center for Student Engagement made the decision. We regret this error.