Hide those kegs. Princeton University officials announced Wednesday that any freshman caught joining, rushing, or pledging a Greek organization — either fraternity or sorority — could face immediate suspension. The policy will be implemented this fall. What does the Ivy League school have against frat life? Here, a brief guide:
Why is Princeton cracking down?
About 15 percent of the Princeton student body — or about 800 students — belong to one of the 12 fraternities and four sororities loosely connected to the school. But Princeton has never officially recognized these Greek organizations because "they promote social exclusion," says the New York Post. The organizations "do not add in positive ways" to the residential experience, Princeton says, and "often place an excessive emphasis on alcohol." By banning first-year students from participating, officials hope that the "rush" period will be delayed — cutting down on binge drinking, and fostering a more inclusive social scene.
What happens if a freshman still joins a frat?
He faces suspension. Any upperclassman who solicits the participation of a freshman will also face suspension. Only if a rule-breaker is "extraordinarily forthcoming" might he be granted leniency, Princeton says.
What do frats say?
They're not exactly thrilled. One Princeton junior, a member of the Alpha Epsilon Phi fraternity, thinks the crackdown will have a negative effect on student culture, as fraternities and sororities offer freshmen the crucial opportunity to connect with upperclassmen.
Will it work?
Opponents argue that there are too many gray areas in the new rules, says Alice Su at the Times of Trenton. "What if a freshman attended a casual room party where all the upperclassmen happened to be in a certain fraternity? Where was the line between a Greek and a non-Greek event?"
Have other schools adopted such rules?
Yes. Yale enacted a similar policy for its incoming freshmen in March. And last year, Cornell demanded a re-examination of Greek recruitment after a student died during an induction ritual involving heavy drinking. But at Princeton, this freshmen-frat ban could just be the start, says Luc Cohen at The Daily Princetonian. If students don't comply, the university could "consider banning fraternities and sororities altogether."
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