Ole Miss Fraternity

My son was pledging a fraternity at Ole Miss and he thought he was “in” though we never received any dues statements which I thought was odd. After returning back to school after Thanksgiving break he called and told me he was “dropped” from the fraternity.

In January we received a statement from the fraternity in the amount of 1,749.00. Can they hold my son liable for these dues, we would be happy to pay if he was not “dropped” from the fraternity but under these circumstances is he still required to pay? It looks like a bit of a scam, what prevents they from telling everyone they are “in” and then dropping them and holding them responsible for dues? I appreciate your response.

Answer:


This is a tough one to answer without all the details.

Typically when a guy joins a fraternity, he is required to pay new member dues.  You need to request a break down of what these dues are for.  If there are fees associated with initiation or becoming a fully active brother, then he should not have to pay those.  Obviously, these dues vary from school to school and fraternity to fraternity.  If he doesn’t complete the program, then we are in a gray area.

In my opinion, he was a new member for a certain period of time.  Therefore, he should owe something depending on the circumstance.  The breakdown I discuss earlier should help guide each party towards what is fair.

If you cannot come to an agreement with the chapter, I would go to the school’s Greek Life office and see if they can help you resolve the issue.  They will have the contact information for the chapter’s alumni advisor, and he can probably help assist.  Finally, don’t hesitate to contact the fraternity’s national office for clarification.  They should be able to assist.

Of course, before you go through this process, you need to make sure you understand the complete story from your son.  He may have agreed to this arraignment and is now hesitate to give you all the details due to the amount of money owed.

Finally – this serves as a good lesson to all chapters out there.  Every member needs to sign a brotherhood contract which explains their financial obligations to the chapter.  If such a contract would exist in this case, then the chapter would have no problem collecting the money they believe they are owed.

Question:

I feel like the frat I am pledging for just was nice to me and accepted me only to grow their membership like they have to every year.  The person who talked me into hanging out with them in the first place even lied that they said they knew me, when they really didn’t.  I am not even fond of pledging.  I feel like I shouldn’t have to do pledging just to continue being friends with them. It feels so fake.  I feel like I am lying to myself, or I am just over worrying?

Answer:

If you don’t like it – then quit.

It is no secret that fraternities recruit guys that they don’t know too well and offer them a probationary membership into the chapter.  Because of the constant turnover in a college environment, fraternities need to do this to survive.

The new member period is designed to let the new member learn more about the chapter and let the chapter learn more about the new member.

If after learning more about the chapter, and realizing that it isn’t for you, there is no shame in quitting.  In fact, you will be doing yourself and the chapter a huge favor.

You see, the strength of the fraternity is the strength of the membership.  If all members do not completely buy in to the fraternity, then it will show in all aspects in chapter operations and the chapter will start to decline.

For example, if there are brothers who feel the way you do, then they will not be very active during recruitment.  This apathy during recruitment will be very transparent to future new members and they will not want to join a fraternity in this situation.

Finally, there is a good lesson for chapters here too.  Don’t initiate guys just to get your numbers up.  Get rid of guys who don’t fit in.

While it is nice to get the extra money in dues, it is more than offset by the long term damage you are doing to your chapter.  Only accept the highest quality guys that you have a genuine connection with. This will make your chapter strong and vibrant.  If you do this, then you won’t have recruitment problems in the future.

This question was submitted by one of our readers. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.






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