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Old 09-01-2004, 03:37 PM
hoosier hoosier is offline
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It's a "Flood" of PNMs at U Ala. fraternities

Potential IFC members flood Ferguson Center

By Megan Nichols
Student Life Editor
September 01, 2004


The Ferguson Center Theater was packed last night as the Interfraternity Council, the University's association of fraternities, met with men interested in rushing a fraternity this fall.

As of Tuesday morning, 466 men were registered for Rush, but IFC President William Norvell said the number would probably be between 600 and 700 because of the number of men at last night's convocation.

Last year, 613 men registered for IFC Recruitment with 495, or 80 percent, receiving bids.

Reducing hazing violations is something the entire IFC and all its member fraternities are focusing on this year, Norvell said. The hazing hotline, 348-HALT, will be well promoted so that pledges know that they can call if they experience hazing, he said.

This year, the IFC has worked closely with the Office of the Dean of Students to formulate a Bill of Rights that will set up a protocol each fraternity will follow if a hazing violation occurs, Norvell said.

"It's like a hazing violation due process," Ben Glasscock, IFC Rush chairman and advertising manager for The Crimson White, said. "We have all decided that this is the year to stamp out all of that."

Every member of every house has agreed to self-report hazing violations, rather than going through the fraternity president, as in previous years, Norvell said. The individuals who commit hazing violations will be expelled from the fraternity and handled by Tim Hebson, director of the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and associate dean of students, he said.

"It has to be different and it can be different," Norvell said. "We brought this up, and everybody said, 'We will do it.' It's more of a house movement. A group effort throughout the fraternity system."

IFC member fraternities have an informal Rush period during the summer when men can receive bids. However, summer bids are not official until Sept. 10, when the University's eight-week pledge program begins, according to the IFC's Web site.

Men who received a summer bid still have to register for IFC's recruitment and participate in rush events.

This year, the IFC conducted a dry summer Rush, which Norvell said worked well.

"It was a complete success," he said. "I was thrilled. I think the quality of our pledge classes will reflect that."

During summer rush, Norvell said, there were no parties at fraternity houses, rather, all parties were held in cities, like Birmingham or Mobile, where fraternity members and alumni met with potential new members.

Glasscock said most fraternities give out at least half their bids during the summer. But that does not mean it is too late for other men to get bids, he said.

Robert Dudley, freshman majoring in political science, has already pledged Kappa Alpha fraternity.

He said he was interested in greek life because he wanted to meet people.

"It's something you can remember the rest of your life, and you get great connections," he said.

Byron Strickland, freshman majoring in business, also received a summer bid.

"I want to get involved, and this is a great way to do it," Strickland said. "You get to bond with guys you will know the rest of your life."

Ben Coleman, sophomore marketing major and pledge class president for Sigma Chi, agreed.

"It's great just to know that I'll have a great group of friends for the rest of my life."

Coleman said he expects the two weeks of Rush to be fun.

"I expect the next two weeks to be full of events and challenging at the same time, but it will make me a better man," he said.

Even though these men have already received bids, they will still participate in recruitment.

Delayed Rush, held over the next two weeks, is aimed more toward men who either do not already know which fraternity they want to rush, or are from out-of-state, Glasscock said.

"That's one reason we went to this deferred Rush," Norvell said. "Before this, those guys, especially out of state guys, didn't have a chance. I think we can improve on our out-of-state numbers. It's a huge pool we haven't fully looked at until now."

UA President Robert Witt has placed special importance on recruiting out-of-state students, Norvell said, and the IFC is trying to help achieve that goal with the delayed rush schedule.

Paul Bridger, junior majoring in political science, is an out-of-state transfer student and said he wants to join a fraternity to meet people and get involved on campus.

"I'm used to knowing people and getting involved because at my other college in Georgia, I was student body president," he said.

Bridger said he had no fraternity in mind, and that he was at the convocation to see what Rush was all about.

Having men interested in rushing register online has helped with that process, Norvell said. The IFC has also formulated a database that each fraternity can access throughout the summer to see which men have pledged, so that they can focus on recruiting those who have not.

Joseph Thigpen, a freshman with an undecided major, does not yet know what fraternity he wants to pledge.

"I've been to a couple of pledge parties, but I don't have one fraternity in particular in mind," he said.

He, too, wants to get involved on campus and meet people through a fraternity, he said.

Anyone interested in rush can meet tonight at the Ferguson Center Pavilion at 5:30, Glasscock said. Even if someone is interested and missed the convocation, it is not too late to sign up, he said. Registration is possible online at www.rushu.com.
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