IFC keeps ‘freshman freeze’ policy, considers changes

Rani Gupta

The Interfraternity Council decided not to change the “freshman freeze” provision that limits freshmen access to fraternity houses, despite discussing proposals that would have altered the current rules.

Assistant Director for Greek Affairs Sean Thomas said the freeze period, during which freshmen are barred from entering fraternity houses during the first four weeks of school, has been a Northwestern policy for about a decade.

Thomas said the fraternity presidents initially wanted to allow freshmen into fraternity houses after New Student Week. Freshmen still would have been prohibited from attending events where alcohol is present.

IFC members and administrators also discussed shortening the four-week period to three weeks, using controls to ensure freshmen were not drinking in fraternity houses, Thomas said.

IFC President Phil Ordway said IFC did not vote on the matter because the “freshman freeze” period was almost completed.

“Considering it ends (Sunday), we decided it wasn’t worth changing anything for one week,” said Ordway, an Education senior. “We just wanted to overhaul the whole policy and that’s going to take more work.”

Beta Theta Pi President Bassel Korkor said the policy discourages the fraternity from holding dry events such as a scholarship banquet early in the year.

But Thomas said the policy reflects the university’s position that “alcohol should not be part of the recruitment process.”

“We’re trying to demonstrate to the rest of campus that fraternities are a lot more than social outlets,” he said. “They contribute to campus in many different ways. We want to take the focus away from alcohol.”

But Korkor said the freshman freeze policy encourages fraternities to hold off-campus events that cannot be monitored by NU.

“Off-campus events can quickly become alcohol-related when in fact the freeze is trying to discourage alcohol consumption,” Korkor said.

Ordway said changing the policy would help with recruitment because freshmen could associate more with fraternity members prior to Winter Rush.

“We want to allow freshmen a more complete view of the house,” Ordway said. “It doesn’t make sense to eliminate freshmen from activities that both (administration and fraternities) would view as beneficial. It’s not harmful to watch a football game or eat dinner in a fraternity.”

Fraternity presidents said they still recruit members through informal methods during the first four weeks of school.