Every year, roughly 1,300 young men enter the formal recruitment process with the Interfraternity Council at the University of Mississippi.
In addition to this number, there is a substantial group of freshman men who are not given the opportunity to accept a bid from a fraternity due to the current grade point average requirement.
According to the University of Mississippi IFC constitution, in order to partake in the rush process, a freshman must have a high school GPA of a 2.5 or greater on a 4.0 scale; there are no exceptions to this rule.
There is an ongoing debate among IFC and university committees about the GPA requirement.
James Roland Markos, president of IFC at Ole Miss, contributed his thoughts on the situation.
“What I see as the debate currently about the GPA requirement and rush for men looking to join IFC fraternities is whether or not one should be required to have the current requirement high school GPA of a 2.5,” he said.
Markos believes there are two valid sides to this debate.
“Men of IFC fraternities are expected to be held to a higher standard in this case, academically, as the average IFC men’s GPA is considerably higher than the average men’s university GPA,” he said. “For this reason, this side of the debate feels that having a 2.5 GPA from high school increases the chances that a new member will be able to succeed academically in school (with) the extra curricular of fraternity life.”
The hope here is that the fraternity a new member chooses will aid him in academic study and help prepare him for success.
Markos says the other side argues that one who is a student in good standing with the university and a paying customer should have the option of a fresh start academically and, therefore, the chance to go through formal IFC recruitment.
“Proponents of this belief also see the fraternity and older active members as tools that can be used to help a new college students learn appropriate study skills and improve academically compared to high school performance,” he said.
The current president of Sigma Nu fraternity, Taylor Massengill, contributed some insight. He believes that although grades are the number one priority, all incoming freshman should be given an opportunity to participate in formal recruitment their first semester.
“There is a lot more to a person than their academic performance in high school, and obviously academics are an important factor, but chapters should be given the opportunity to select well-rounded individuals regardless of their GPA,” he said.
Massengill believes individual chapters should be making the decisions rather than the university.
“I believe that it is ultimately the responsibility of each chapter to ensure that the potential new members they bid meet the academic standards of their respective chapters,” he said.
Every year, there are freshman males who are unable to rush due to their high school GPA and are unable to even register for recruitment.
Alexa Lee Arndt, coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Life at Ole Miss, provided her outlook on the topic.
“IFC, through its bylaws, established the system currently in place, including the minimum 2.5 GPA requirements for potential new members to receive a bid, as well as be initiated,” she said. “As our chapters continue to want Fall Recruitment, some academic standards must be used when considering potential membership.”
Arndt is in charge of all of rush for fraternities and sororities on campus and is very familiar with the GPA requirement rules. She believes that what is in place is working well for everyone on campus.
“If we could move to a deferred recruitment, we would be able to use a potential new member’s Ole Miss Fall GPA,” she said. “However, there seems to be no desire to move recruitment back further in the year. Therefore we use high school GPAs.”
Markos has an idea in his head that could potentially be a solution to this issue.
“A good alternative would be allowing each fraternity a set number – possibly two or three new members – who can be accepted with a GPA under 2.5,” he said. “That way it is giving some leniency.”
Another issue with this is the “open bidding” system when fraternities give out bids to candidates who have been released from rush early due to a house not wanting them.
The problem here is that many houses on campus do not take part in the open bidding process. Therefore, good guys end up with no bids anywhere.
The GPA requirement for men’s rush is an on-going debate between members of IFC, fraternities, and potential new members.
You can follow the Ole Miss IFC on twitter @OLEMISSIFC or like their page on Facebook for updates and information.