The following is a pretty common question on the site: I was initiated in an IFC fraternity and decided it is not for me. Can I leave and then rush another IFC fraternity?
In most instances, you cannot quit your fraternity and join another one. All national fraternities are part of the National Interfraternity Conference (NIC). The NIC explicitly states that you cannot join another fraternity if you have already been initiated into one. However, there can be exceptions to this rule.
It is unfortunate that this question is asked so often, because it indicates that there are a lot of guys out there that aren’t happy with their chapter but do want to be a part of the fraternity experience. It is a shame, because in nearly all instances you will not be able to join another fraternity should you quit the one you are currently in.
While typically you can’t, but there are two ways I’ve heard where you might be able to quit and join another fraternity.
First, you can request a release from your national fraternity and petition to be allowed to join another fraternity. I imagine that this happens in extremely rare situations. The person asking for the release better have pretty solid reasoning for the request. Some examples – maybe you transfer to a new school that doesn’t have your fraternity. That could be a reasonable request. Maybe your chapter disbanded at your school because of the actions of others while you weren’t on campus. Regardless, if you are granted your release, then you will be able to join another fraternity.
Second, you can get expelled from your fraternity. In essence, this will mean the fraternity has disassociated themselves from you, and then you will be free join another fraternity. This is often a long, typically arduous process, and there are no guarantees the fraternity you want to join will accept you.
What makes both of these options especially challenging is the timeline. You are only in college for four years (typically). Most join their freshman year, so they don’t look to quit in the first year. Brothers who decide to quit do so in years two or three.
The problem now becomes that the brother will need the National HQ to expel them or grant them their release. That isn’t something that happens quickly in most organizations.
Initially, the brother who quits has his fate left with the chapter to send up the information. Most chapters are terrible with paperwork, and may sit on the issue for a while. This will inevitably lead to lost time.
Depending on the national fraternity’s bylaws, the expulsion process and be very tedious once the national organization gets the request from the local chapter. If the process takes several months, you could theoretically miss a year because of the rush schedule.
By the time you get your actual release (which is a long-shot), you may have graduated or be very close to graduating. Chances are your eagerness to join another fraternity will have waned. As an older student, you may not want to rush and become a new member with freshman. Priorities change as time progresses.
Further, it is a big assumption that the fraternity you want to join will actually accept you. They have every right to not allow your membership because of your previous affiliation.
Before you decide to take these measures, be sure you understand what you are doing.
When you were initiated, you decided to join a fraternity for life. Quitting will lead people to question your integrity. Every situation is different, but there is rarely a case when doing what you described is acceptable.
For more advice on quitting a fraternity – check out this comprehensive article I wrote on the topic:
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.