Charge: Policy implementation committee on fraternity, sorority freshman rush ban

by President Shirley M. Tilghman

Following consultation with the Trustees, last month I accepted the recommendation of the Working Group on Campus Social and Residential Life that the University prohibit freshmen from affiliating with a fraternity or sorority during the freshman year, and that the University also prohibit students in the other three classes from conducting or having responsibility on behalf of a Greek organization for any form of rush or solicitation in which freshmen participate or are invited to participate. I deferred the implementation of the ban for a year (until the fall of 2012) to allow a committee of students, faculty and staff to develop procedures for administering the prohibition.

I have asked Dean of Undergraduate Students Kathleen Deignan to chair this committee. Specifically, I am asking the committee to:

  • Describe as clearly as possible the kinds of actions and interactions that it believes should be prohibited under this policy by freshmen and by other students. It may be helpful for the committee to offer examples of actions that would be prohibited and that would not be prohibited.
  • Suggest penalties that would be appropriate, fair and effective in encouraging full compliance with the policy.
  • Provide suggestions on best ways to communicate and assess compliance with the policy.

In carrying out its responsibilities, I hope the committee will consult widely with interested students and others. I hope it will bring forward its recommendations by early in the spring semester so that there is ample time for campuswide discussion before final action needs to be taken to put policies and procedures in place prior to the fall. 

The goals of this policy are to reaffirm the centrality of the residential colleges and the eating clubs as the principal elements around which residential and social life at Princeton revolve; to encourage freshmen to take full advantage of the opportunities Princeton offers to explore a variety of interests and develop a diverse set of friendships; and to ensure that students who choose to participate in fraternities and sororities do so only after they have had the benefit of a full year on campus. I appreciate the importance of clearly articulating the policy and the willingness of Dean Deignan and members of her committee to advise on its implementation and enforcement, but when it is implemented I hope that all students will not only comply with the policy, but will join in helping to achieve the goals for social and residential life at Princeton that the working group articulated in its report.