Melting down the Freshman Freeze

Christina Chaey

The “Freshman Freeze” – a Northwestern policy that prohibits fraternities and sororities from advertising themselves or their events for a four-week period at the beginning of Fall Quarter – will be adjusted for the 2009-10 academic year. This change will mark the first time the policy has been amended in the two decades since it was introduced.

Although the finalized dates have not yet been released, the historically four-week period will “definitely” be reduced, said Dominic Greene, director of fraternity and sorority life.

The proposal, drafted by the Interfraternity Council, Multicultural Greek Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council and Panhellenic Association, recommended that the freeze be shortened by two weeks, to span from the beginning of New Student Week to the Sunday after the first week of classes.

In addition to shortening the freeze, the proposal also recommended that Greek councils be able to advertise themselves and sponsor council-approved events during the freeze itself.

In May, NU’s four Greek councils presented a proposal to the Associated Student Government Senate that was met with overwhelming support, with only two senators voting against the resolution to shorten the freeze by half.

The reform, endorsed by all the Greek council senators and ASG President Mike McGee, was then presented to William Banis, NU’s vice president for student affairs, who wrote a response to the proposal about a month ago, said Lucas Artaiz, president of the Interfraternity Council.

“As it stands right now, it’s kind of internal,” said Artaiz, who added that he expects to finalize the details of the new policy within the next week.

Once the start and end dates for the new freeze policy have been released, information about the amended dates will be distributed to all chapter presidents, Greene said.

“The university is in favor of it, but the final little details that are going to affect the students haven’t been released to the public yet,” he said.

Artaiz and Greene will continue to solidify the details about when the freeze will definitely be over and when the Greek councils can start marketing and hosting events over the next few days, Greene said.

“We just want it to be fleshed out so that people don’t start jumping the gun and start scheduling things,” he said.

The proposal is nothing new – there have been a handful of recommendations made to the administration in the past decade calling for either a complete elimination of the freeze or otherwise a shortening of the freeze period. However, this is the first time since 1989 that the policy will actually be amended in any way, Greene said.

“This office is supportive of the students’ efforts,” he said. “(Dean of Students) Mary Desler was very supportive of some kind of reduction of the freeze.”

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