Locals and Nationals Work Together to Create Fair Sorority Rush Process

To the Editor:

In response to both Tuesday’s editorial and the letter to the editor from Alison Hodges which suggested a local sorority rush lottery, I would like to set the record straight on the debate over local and national rush rules and the logistics of a rush lottery.

First and foremost let it be established that the 28 Coed Fraternity Sorority Council organizations, and perhaps to an even greater degree the six Panhellenic sororities, work together in as many different contexts as are feasible at Dartmouth. Regardless of each sorority’s local or national status, as voluntary members of the Natioanl Panhellenic Council, we all must abide by the same rush rules and the same rush process.

National sororities have existed for the past century as progressive organizations supporting educated women in their pursuits in and out of the classroom and beyond their college years. To suggest that they in any way limit the ability to change and update rules and processes is to forget that these are organizations that seek to improve the status and situations for women on both national and local (in the case of rush) levels. Neither the national or local houses are bound to rules that in any way compromise the strength of the system or the comfort of women who wish to rush.

In that vein, the Panhellenic Council, which is made up of representatives of the six sororities, updates and revises the rush in an attempt to make it as fair a process as possible. The fact that every woman who goes through rush is guaranteed a bid is one way that Panhell and the sororities have attempted to make this “inherent paradox” of an inclusive yet selective system more welcoming to potential members. The choice is ultimately given to the rushing women who can guarantee themselves a bid by listing all six houses on their preference card on the final night of rush. A lottery system effectively takes the choice away from both the rushees and the sorority members. As the system stands, rushees make a decision after assessing how comfortable they feel in a certain house. This decision is discerned subjectively in a way that a number in a lottery system will never provide.

Because of the limited social space for women at Dartmouth and because of the large number of women interested in joining the sorority system and moreover, because we live in the real world where, however unfortunate, we can’t all get exactly want we want all the time, Panhell and the six sororities choose to emphasize the strength of the system as a whole. National or local, we share many of the same issues — the issues we hope to best address as women’s organizations at Dartmouth, including “standing behind” each other, regardless of which sorority one is member, or potential member.

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