The university is proposing a new requirement for students looking to join Greek life: a USC GPA.
School officials hope to mandate that freshman and transfer students complete of a minimum of 12 units and maintain a 2.5 grade point average at USC before rushing a sorority or fraternity. In doing so, formal recruitment would be moved from the fall to spring semester.
Historically, USC has participated in fall recruitment, where Greek organizations host several events during what’s called rush week, inviting potential new members to attend and learn more about the values and culture of each individual chapter.
This isn’t the first time the university has considered deferring rush.
Every year we evaluate our policies and practices to ensure what we are doing today still makes sense and is in the best interests of students’ wellbeing,” Vice President for Student Affairs Ainsley Carry said in an emailed statement.
“I am asking that first-year students have a solid semester to settle into college, establish themselves in the classroom, and adjust to the mental rigor of college.”
Brandon Lugo, a member of Theta Xi fraternity, agrees with Carry on moving rush because it sends the right message to freshmen and newcomers to get their grades up.
This is not just a party lifestyle; it’s more of a brotherhood to connect on ideas,” Lugo said. “It’s always better to take more time and just evaluate what you’re getting into than just going straight into it based on what you heard in high school.”
On the other hand, a member of Sigma Chi fraternity, senior Gabe Grandcolas thinks the university shouldn’t worry about new students rushing in the fall and earning poor grades for one semester.
“People figure it out after a semester…you’re here for eight semesters, so you have seven more to really gain it [your GPA] back,” he said.
Senior Jourdan Johnson, a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority, argues USC Greek life places a high emphasis on scholarship.
“We are here at USC. It is an academic school. Greek life really encourages academic excellence. We are not just a social organization,” she said.
With an average GPA of 3.46, Greek women on campus exceed the all-undergraduate GPA average of 3.25—and even do better than the all-women average of 3.33, according to a 2016 report from the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development. Fraternity members earn an average of 3.22, which exceeds the all-men average of 3.17.
Carry is hoping to come to a final decision as soon as possible, which could change rush as early as next year.
So far members of the Interfraternity Council have not responded to requests to comment and the Panhellenic Council declined to comment.