Princeton bars freshmen from Greek system

Bloomberg News / August 24, 2011

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NEW YORK - Princeton University president Shirley Tilghman is banning freshmen from joining fraternities and sororities as of the 2012-2013 year, after an internal report said the groups encourage exclusivity and alcohol abuse.

Members of sororities and fraternities will also be forbidden from any form of “rush,’’ or recruitment, of freshman students, the Princeton, N.J.-based school said in a statement on its website. Upperclassmen won’t be stopped from joining the groups, said Cass Cliatt, a university spokeswoman.

While about 15 percent of Princeton undergraduates participate in sororities and fraternities, the organizations are not recognized by the university, do not have residential houses, and have been prohibited during much of the school’s history.

The report on campus social life produced last year by a 13-member panel of students, faculty, and staff said that the groups lead students to narrow, rather than expand, their set of friendships.

But Jake Nebel, a Princeton junior who is master of the school’s Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter, argued that fraternities and sororities, often called Greek societies because they are named for Greek letters, do not limit students’ contact with others, and in fact help them expand their relationships.

“Developing close friendships is both difficult and important during freshman year, and Greek societies serve that purpose for the large number of students who are interested in them,’’ he said in an e-mailed response to questions.

Supporters of the societies suggested a compromise that would allow freshmen to join the groups in their second semester of school, Nebel said. top stories on Twitter

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