Let me preface this article by saying that if you feel dirty rushing is being overlooked at your school, it is important to say something. Contact your school’s Greek life adviser, speak with your chapter adviser, or even speak with a university administrator.
Every day of our lives we make decisions and choices. The majority of our choices are mundane and made with little reasoning or thought of consequence. However, every once in a while there comes that tempting option that tests your moral compass. Should I cheat on this test? Should I lie about last night? As unethical as these choices are, for some, the decision is unclear and the temptation is too difficult to resist. Such is the case with dirty rushing.
Most major fraternities and sororities are members of a national governing body who is represented on every campus and who establishes rules for recruitment. Basically, dirty rushing is any type of recruitment activity involving an unaffiliated individual that doesn’t conform to these recruitment rules.
Dirty rush activities range from small individual indiscretions to planned chapter events. A member can even dirty rush without knowing it. Below are the most common dirty rushing activities:
- Promising a bid or pressuring someone to join
- Spreading negative rumors about other chapters
- Giving presents to a potential new member
- Secret parties where alcohol is served to minors (who are you kidding – someone always finds out)
Normally, dirty rushing by an active member is dealt with by the chapter, and chapter-sponsored dirty rushing is dealt with by the overseeing Greek committee such as IFC or Panhellenic (keep in mind there is a fine line between a member’s actions and those of the chapter as a whole). Sometimes however, people will turn a blind eye to dirty rushing activities. Although dirty rush tactics may go under the radar for a year or two, eventually, people find out and the consequences are inevitable (police involvement, parental complaints, individual expulsion and even the closure of a chapter).
What You Can Do
As a leader of your chapter, its important to address the issue of dirty rushing with your members. For some chapters this can be done online in a discussion-like forum, while for others, in-person chapter meetings are best. Here are some things to remember when facilitating the “dirty rushing” conversation in your chapter:
- Explain what dirty rushing is (while it may be reiteration for older members, this is important for new members, members who have a misconstrued view, or members who have never participated in organized recruitment)
- Go over the recruitment rules set forth by your Greek committee (this may seem tedious, but its valuable to your chapter that your members know the rules)
- Provide examples (both individual and chapter related) of dirty rushing activities as it relates to your campus rules
- Discuss the consequences of dirty rushing (what actions the Greek community, your University, and/or your national organization can take)
- Provide contact information for your executive members and the Greek committee members to whom dirty rushing should be reported
- Allow for questions and comments (dirty rushing isn’t entirely black and white, so your members may need to discuss the gray areas)
I emphasize chapter discussion as it is very important. Make sure that your talk is a discussion among all the members of your chapter, and your members are comfortable asking any sort of question. Additionally, schedule time after the meeting for one-on-one discussions. This is especially useful if a member is dirty rushing, thinks they are dirty rushing, or suspects dirty rushing in the chapter, and wants to discuss it with you.
Discretion is Key
My final point is about discretion. Its absolutely, undeniable that there is competition within the Greek community, especially when it comes to recruitment. While some Greeks may believe in the “us vs. them” motto, remember that the chapters on your campus make up a community. As competitive and cut-throat as that community may be, it is still a singular body that represents your chapter to the rest of the university.
Just as community service and academic success shed positive light, university punishment of any chapter reflects negatively on the entire Greek community. Thus, if you know of dirty rushing by another chapter, act with discretion. This doesn’t mean ignore dirty rushing, but rather, act as you would want to be treated if it was your chapter who was caught. The Greek community relies on the strength of every chapter, and the downfall of one chapter can quickly lead to the downfall of the entire community.
Remember: while we encourage competition and separate chapter identities, behind all the letters, all the chants, and all the rivalry, we are all the same: we are all Greek.