A University committee has recommended to President Tilghman that students who violate the ban on freshman affiliation with fraternities or sororities face a penalty of suspension.
The prohibition takes effect this fall. In approving the ban last summer, Tilghman created a committee to make recommendations on enforcement and penalties that would be “effective in encouraging full compliance with the policy.”
That committee, headed by Kathleen Deignan, the dean of undergraduate students, issued its report March 25. The group said that it regarded University policy, “which is to discourage all students from joining sororities and fraternities at any time during their college careers,” as an “institutional value judgment” that was not open to question. The committee acknowledged that some members of the University community disagree with that policy.
The report included these points: 
  • Freshmen would be prohibited from affiliating with a Greek organization or “participating in any activity sponsored by a fraternity or sorority” from the receipt of an offer of admission through the end of spring-term exams of freshman year.
  • Students would be prohibited from soliciting the participation of any freshman in a Greek organization, including inviting or organizing a  sponsored event to which freshmen are invited.
  • Soliciting freshman participation in fraternities or sororities should result in suspension.
  • A freshman who joins, pledges, or rushes should expect to be suspended. A freshman who takes part in any other Greek-sponsored activity may be subject to disciplinary probation.
  • An organization cannot evade the policy by dropping its Greek letters or its national affiliation.
  • Recognized student organizations should be exempt from the policy. The policy also should exempt the eating clubs.
  • Casual conversations about fraternities and sororities should not be prohibited.
The report raised the possibility of tougher sanctions against the Greek organizations if students seek to undercut the freshman ban. Recounting Tilghman’s presence at a committee meeting in December, the report said that “she suggested that in the future, violations of the prohibition on freshman affiliation can be expected to further reduce the University’s tolerance of sophomore, junior, and senior affiliation.
“In other words, we recognized that sororities and fraternities will have the best chance of avoiding an outright ban by achieving full compliance with this policy,” the report added.
Members of the campus community can comment on the recommendations through April 6 at the following website: http://www.princeton.edu/campuslife/freshmen-rush-policy/. An open student forum on the report will be held April 2, and meetings also are planned with leaders of fraternities and sororities and of other student groups.
Tilghman is expected to make a final decision on the committee’s recommendations later this spring.