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Prince Charming and the 340 Princesses

Fits just right. Dissappointment, the annual mistress of Sorority rush has risen its head once again here on the hill. The gnashing of teeth began soon after the revelation that 98 women had dropped out of fall rush leaving only 227 women with bids by the time it was over. While this did indeed result in only 67 percent of the women entering rush leaving with a bid, various theories were offered for lowest bid-rate in recent memory.

The Dartmouth’s editorial board weighed in on the subject Friday. In a surprising lack of tact, the editorial board lashed out at individuals they saw as being responsible for the Panhellenic Council’s “lack of accountability.” The board then proceeded to outline a process strikingly similar, as it was pointed out to me, to the current process, but which heisted some ideas from men’s rush. Essentially, every girl would be made to visit each house once, and then houses would “callback” girls. At this point girls could choose to visit whichever houses they wanted to, whether having been called back or not, and would then be allowed to “shakeout” to indicate their top choice for a house. At this point Sororities would offer a bid, no-bid or callback to each girl. Then the girls could use the remaining nights in rush to pursue bids at other houses.

Purely at face value this seems fairly logical and better than the old system. But being fairly inexperienced with the intricacies of women’s rush, I found myself chatting with friend who happened to be on the Panhellenic Council. She pointed out that this is effectively how girl’s rush works. Houses decide to callback or to no bid via their ranking system. If a girl is not invited back to a house she is “no-bid.” Under the proposed system girls who were set on a house would desperately go back to a house they did not receive a callback from and would end up wasting their time and the time of the disinterested sisters at the house rather than exploring other options as they currently do in rush. Additionally, we can all agree that sorority rush has its problems, but the problems are systemic of Dartmouth’s sorority system rather due to flaws in the rush process.

The real issue at hand is the tiered social standing of Dartmouth’s sororities. And this is one place where I do feel the Fraternities do contribute negatively to campus. The social ranking of the various sororities is at best superficial and at worst misogynist. Are we all really so concerned about only talking to pretty people or about hanging out with the “cool” houses that we shun those deemed as less attractive or awkward? It is behaviors and attitudes like this that contribute to sophomore women feeling pressured to join a particular house and believing that it is better to drop out of rush rather than go to a house that is less “desirable.” After all, my Panhellenic source claims that all the girls who participated in all the required nights of rush received bids somewhere.

This isn’t to say that women should feel pressured to join a house they don’t like. I only ask why there are such negative connotations tied to some houses, especially when most sororities do not host open parties. If more women entered rush with an open mind and chose houses based on the quality of the sisters rather than the reputation perhaps we would see more of a “success” rate in sorority rush.


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