- A RELIGIOUS FOUNDATION AND EXPRESSIVE ASSOCIATION RIGHTS
- DEFERRED RUSH AT COLORADO?
- IS THERE STILL SPEECH FREEDOM?
- LATINO-GREEKS ARRIVE
- EDUCATIONAL GRANTS FROM FOUNDATION TO FRATERNITY
- HAZARDS OF DECORATIVE PARTY POOLS
- CHAPTER HOUSES AND FRATERNITY CULTURE
Newsletter > January 2005 > "DEFERRED RUSH AT COLORADO?"
DEFERRED RUSH AT COLORADO?
Tim Burke, Manley Burke, email@example.com
Lynn “Gordie” Bailey, a Colorado University student, died from alcohol poisoning in September of 2004. The Denver Post reported that he died “the morning after he and other Chi Psi pledges were told to drink as a part of an initiation ritual.”1
Colorado University subsequently engaged in a series of meetings with Greek leaders throughout the Fall semester and meeting with them finally on January 13, 2005 to announce the University’s decision with regard to its future relationship with fraternities and sororities on the campus. The University intends to develop a fraternal organization agreement “which will spell out expectations that must be met in order for Greek organizations to receive University benefits.”2
According to the University, conditions expected to be included in such an agreement are:
1) A requirement to engage a full-time live-in staff member in a chapter house;
2) Prohibition against underage consumption of alcohol at events;
3) Deferment of rush activities to the spring semester beginning with the 2005-06 academic year.
The University also expects that “the agreement will spell out the University’s commitment to supporting Greek organizations, including a listing of benefits, programs and services related to fraternities and sororities.”
According to the Denver Post, the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) has rejected the delayed rush plan. The Post quotes Jon Williamson, the Vice President of NIC, as saying, “to deny students the right to associate with whom they choose is not going to address the major issues on the campus at CU … the First Amendment allows students to decide with whom they can freely associate.”
The article also quotes Ron Stump, CU’s Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, saying the spring rush decision is in “concrete” and “I’m no constitutional lawyer, but we do know that 30% of colleges that have fraternities and sororities have deferred rush.”
The constitutional questions are very real. Clearly, students on a state university campus do not give up their constitutional rights when they become a state university student. As the U.S. Supreme Court said in Tinker v. Des Moines School District, “it can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights … at the schoolhouse gate.”3 Thus, their First Amendment rights are intact, as are their rights under the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Whether Colorado’s announced policy will result in litigation remains to be seen, but it does raise the question of whether or not a state university can single out only fraternity groups and require them to delay recruiting students until the second semester when other groups on campus may begin recruiting student members during the first semester.
1 The Denver Post “Frat Group Rejects Delayed Rush at CU,” by Dave Curtin, January 26, 2005.
2 Colorado University Press Release, January 14, 2005.
3 Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 343 U.S. 503 (1969).