Cal Poly ends deferred rush, begins new regulations for greeks

Mustang Daily Staff Report

Cal Poly announced changes to its greek regulations Tuesday, including the end of the deferred rush policy under which freshmen males could not join fraternities until their second quarter.

The end of deferred rush is part of a larger agreement between the greek community and the university, said Jason Colombini, incoming Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) president.

In addition to ending deferred rush, Cal Poly will also require greek organizations to register off-campus parties, adopt new alcohol-management policies limiting the amount of alcohol at parties, provide new members with education in alcohol, hazing and sexual assault awareness and participate in a student review process.

Along with the regulations, the university will also look to add more chapters to its greek system.

“It is finally an opportunity for fraternities and sororities at Cal Poly to really move forward with new policies,” Colombini said. “They’re going to implement a growing greek life and a changing greek life.”

An agribusiness junior and Interfraternity Council (IFC) president this past year, Colombini said the compromise will change policies that have been “holding back” greeks at Cal Poly.

Some of those new rules, however, will bring changes that have met resistance in the greek community, Colombini said. But, he said, after meeting with Vice President of Student Affairs Keith Humphrey, who began at Cal Poly in February, he now agrees with all parts of the compromise.

“The absolute most critical reason why I’m OK with all this is there will be greek members working with administration to hold each other accountable,” Colombini said. “It’s a two-way trust line. As soon as one side breaks it, no one trusts each other.”

While some of the new policies, such as ending deferred rush, will begin this fall, others will be implemented as greek leaders work with administrators to finalize procedures. Party registration, for example, will begin an interim phase to be evaluated next winter, Colombini said.

Cal Poly formed the compromise after consulting with Aware Awake Alive, an alcohol-awareness non-profit founded by the family of Carson Starkey. The university originally implemented deferred rush after Starkey died during a Cal Poly fraternity hazing incident in 2008.

Colombini said it was one of his goals to end the policy this year, and it “feels great” now that a deal has been reached. He officially ends his time as Interfraternity Council president and begins as ASI president Sunday.

Below is a note Colombini sent to all IFC fraternity members Tuesday and the official compromise:

Gentlemen of the Greek Community,
     As you all know, deferred recruitment has been a major issue facing the Greek community for the past three years. At the beginning of fall quarter, IFC set off to work with administration and other campus entities to finally end this policy. We created a task force to examine deferred recruitment during the fall quarter and worked with administration throughout winter and spring quarter to come to a compromise to both remove deferred recruitment and make Greek Life stronger as a whole. With all three councils united on a compromise, we came together and submitted our proposed compromise to President Armstrong, where we have been awaiting his approval for the past few weeks.
     I received word from President Armstrong today that he has agreed to our compromises. Therefore, after three years and months of work to rid IFC of this policy, deferred recruitment has been lifted for the upcoming fall rush. Rush will take place Week 3.
     This is something to both be proud about as we move forward, yet also remember that we have been given back a great privilege. Risk management and caring for one another must take priority. It not only upholds the tenets all of our national organizations were founded on, but follows the Mustang Way as well. I’d like to thank everyone who aided in the process to make this decision possible, particularly Anca Todor, Josh Ramos, Trevor Kuchman, Hayden Richter, Thomas Maher, Andrew Lanphar, Jeremy M.H. Powers, and representatives from the NIC.
     Ultimately, this decision and the compromise is one that will come to define Greek Life for years to come. It strengthens the community as a whole and puts our system ahead of the curve. With this change, not only do freshmen have the opportunity to join a fraternity as soon as they enter Cal Poly, but they have the opportunity to become better leaders, better students, and better people. Fraternity and Sorority Life at Cal Poly will become more responsible and accountable while continuously enhancing the college experience of those who make the decision to go Greek. While there is still more to come, more policies to work collaboratively on, and more trials, tribulations, and successes to occur, I believe that fraternity and sorority members will look in retrospect on this compromise and realize that it was the best decision for the community. We will look back and know it was the start of a new era for fraternities and sororities at Cal Poly.
     The link to press release from Cal Poly can be found here:
     Thank you all for a great year! It has been a pleasure serving as your IFC President and I look forward to continuing to serve you and many others as ASI President. Have a great summer!
Jason Colombini
President, Interfraternity Council

Cal Poly Deferred Recruitment Compromise


Sean McMinn contributed to this staff report. 

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