The Rush Week PR Disaster

24 01 2010

Pike being booted is bad enough. But it looks like sororities haven’t been able to avoid trouble either.

If anyone has read Ivygate or the Huffington Post lately, apparently Pi Beta Phi’s dress manual for sisters during rush week was leaked, substantiating just about every single embarrassing sorority stereotype known to man. Not that everyone didn’t know there was a dress code, but the shallowness of it all really echoes with the sister who wrote the six-page guide. It’s not something that Pi Phi will get in trouble for since they didn’t do anything wrong, but it’s an embarrassment and a public relations debacle.

Watch out for those dress checks, ladies.

Speaking of which, this puts Greek Life at Cornell in an unpleasant situation. We have Pike and Pi Phi caught committing activities that portray the darker side of Greek Life by exposing some of the excessive drinking and superficiality, the kind that anti-Greek zealots thrive off of.  I know I made the joke a couple of entries ago about how I hope my fraternity sends no one to the hospital during rush week, but this is ridiculous. The goal of recruitment is to invite those interested into Greek chapters, not embarrass ourselves in a stereotypical shit-show that will have repercussions through the system. The reputation of the greek system at Cornell has taken a major hit this week, and Panhel and the IFC need to something, now. Advertising the high points of Greek Life in Sun Articles and OFSA publications is only a small part of the answer. Open and extended discussion of these events will be required at the meetings of the respective councils, and ways to improve upon it. Even if they don’t (which I’m being honest here, and know that things won’t really change), it will offer some good PR.

I know that some of the comments I’ve seen on facebook and other sites question the harshness of immediately stopping Pi Kappa Alpha’s recruitment and kicking them off campus. Let’s be frank – they deserved it. Yes, they sought the freshmen medical attention. Congratulations, by not letting them die they just avoided persecution under NYS law. However, the brothers still let it happen in the first place. Did not monitor the situation, did not prevent the freshmen from drinking to the point of poisoning, did nothing until their lives were actually in danger. The freshmen were stupid, but regardless of that the brothers should have been smart and prevented the situation from occurring. But they didn’t. They deserve every punishment that Cornell, the IFC, their national org, their alumni and anyone else delivers upon them.



2 responses

24 01 2010

I agree, too often houses are not punished to the extent they should be. Instead of being held fully accountable for their actions, punishments are placed on the entire greek system. Unfortunately, these houses are quite often allowed to continue to operate on campus which perpetuates these issues. By letting the bad apples go we can prevent the IFC from continuously having to impose rediculous rules on itself.

All I have to say about the dress code is that there are definately girls in every house who need to be reprimanded for their mustaches. Thank you Pi Phi for addressing this.

24 01 2010
Dean F

I agree with the previous commenter about the decision to suspend PKA. Correct me if I’m wrong Mr. Brancra, but the past few years have seen a string of stricter regulations passed by the IFC governing alcohol use, parties, and recruitment, so the emphasis now has to be on punishing individual houses instead of the system.

As for the sorority dress code… that is hugely embarrassing by most peoples’ sensibilities. Major kudos to the rushee who decided to leak it. Who knows how many CU gals will actually read about it though. I hope the Sun writes about it this week. I wonder whether that sort of thing is common in the sorority system or if it’s just that one house.

There was a hilarious bit of commentary in the Daily Sun on January 29th, 1968 called “Sororitease,” which criticized their “narrowmindedness,” “conformist pressures,” and “preoccupation with image” that still seem embedded in their culture. Read here:

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