You know the basic road map of fraternity life. You rush a fraternity for a few weeks, then pledge for several weeks. Then you are initiated into the brotherhood.What happens though when you realize that you no longer want to be a part of the fraternity?
When you quit a fraternity, you will essentially be telling the fraternity that you no longer want to be friends. Common protocol is informing the president and giving him your fraternity pin. Many people also give the president a letter indicating that they are quitting.
There are certain things you need to be aware of when you quit. You need to make sure you have a clear understanding of why you are quitting and make sure it is a sound decision. You need to know what will happen to you after you quit. You need to know the process of actually quitting and you need to know if you can join another fraternity. All those items are covered below.
Understand Why You Want to Quit the Fraternity
If you no longer want to be a part of the fraternity, and you are 100% certain in your decision, then you need to quit as soon as possible. You can wait for something to change, but it won’t. Be sure to keep this in context though.
Everyone who has ever been in a fraternity has moments when they are not wild about their fraternity. There are ups and downs in fraternity life, just like there are ups and downs in other facets of life. It comes with the territory. But if the fraternity is truly no longer an important part of your life – then you should quit.
You are not doing anyone a favor by lingering around hoping things will change. They won’t change. By lingering on your decision to quit, you are putting everyone in a terrible situation. You will feel guilty because you belong to an organization that you want nothing to do with.The fraternity will feel awful because it has a brother who doesn’t want to come around anymore.
You will probably stop paying dues, since you are not participating in any events.That will create ill-will on both sides. You will feel like a deadbeat because you aren’t honoring your time or financial commitments. Your brothers will be frustrated because you aren’t coming around anymore. It will turn into an uglier situation the longer is lingers.
Before you quit though, make sure you are making a good decision. There was something that obviously happened between the time you were initiated and the time you quit. Figure out what changed, and if that change is significant enough for you to disassociate.
A common reason people give for quitting is they can’t afford it. In my experience, that is not the real reason, just an excuse in an attempt to not hurt anyone’s feelings. Another common reason is a falling out with brothers in the chapter. This is unfortunate, but happens.
If you are going to quit, make sure you understand why and are comfortable with the decision. Probably the best reason to quit is because the organization doesn’t align with your values. An example is if your fraternity is engaging in illegal activity. No reason at all to stick around what chapter.
Quitting is a difficult decision. Avoid making a decision based on emotion. Make that decision with a clear mind.
What Will Happen Once You Quit the Fraternity?
Once you quit the fraternity, be you need to be prepared for the consequences.
At first, the brothers will be confused. Some will try to get you to change your mind (unless they are glad you quit). They won’t understand why you would want to quit something that means so much to them.
After the news sinks in though, the brothers will change towards to person who quits. The quitter will be ostracized from the fraternity forever. Think about it. At the core – the quitter is telling the fraternity and all the brothers in it that they no longer want to be friends. The quitter can expect the brothers to turn on him, because the quitter gave up on the fraternity.
If you quit you need to be prepared to dramatically alter your college life. You will need to rebuild your social group, and probably change your activities. You may even need to change your living accommodations if you live in the fraternity house.
You also need to realize that your existing relationships with brothers will change. You won’t hang out as much in the future because of your friend’s fraternity commitments. Even though you are really close now, chances are you will grow apart if you quit.
When you quit though you are going to be giving up a lot. Like mentioned above, you will lose your friends in the chapter. You will also lose opportunities to grow as a leader and serve your community. Those things can be found in other groups on a college campus, but I argue that the fraternity experience is better training and practice in those areas.
You will also lose future connections to your university. People who didn’t join Greek Life don’t have the same connection to the school after graduation. There isn’t the common bond that ties them to their friends and to their school. By being a member of a fraternity you will always have a connection with your school, and that connection will be celebrated with reunions and alumni weekends.
Quitting a fraternity isn’t just quitting the organization. You will be quitting your friends and abandoning all the relationships you have built in the chapter.
How You Quit the Fraternity
Ok – you’ve made the decision and you are sure that you want to quit the fraternity. What do you now?
If you want to do the right thing and be a man about the situation you need to have the tough one-on-one conversations. That means having the conversation with your closest friends in the fraternity. You will need to explain why you are quitting, and realize they will have a solution for whatever reason you give. This will be hard, and they will try to get you to change their mind. This isn’t a requirement, but it is the right thing to do.
Below are the things that you I strongly recommend you do should you quit:
1 – You need to make sure you fulfill all your obligations to the fraternity. If you owe back dues, you need to pay them. If you owe rent, you need to pay it. A men honors his commitments and obligations. You can’t quit and separate from the fraternity is you still have obligations to the organization.
2 – You need to tell the president of the fraternity – in person. You will be doing him and the fraternity a favor if you share with him the true reason for your quitting. It would great if they could use that information to improve the fraternity in the future.
At this time, you should give back your pin, manuals and other property that should remain with the fraternity.
3 – You also need to give the president a letter notifying them that you are quitting. The letter needs to be dated. The letter needs to note that you have fulfilled all your financial obligations to the chapter. The letter also needs to ask for the formal release from the fraternity.
4 – In addition to giving the president a hard copy of the letter, you need to email a scan of the letter to him, the Greek Life director and your National HQ. This email will serve as an important time stamp that you have officially quit.
You need to do this for legal reasons. You don’t want a crooked chapter coming after you saying that you owe money from a period when you weren’t a brother. You also want to make sure you are very clear that you are no longer affiliated with the fraternity should they get in trouble for any reason.
You are notifying the chapter president of obvious reasons. You are notifying the Greek Life director to make sure the disassociation is recognized by the school. You are notifying the National HQ because ultimately they are the only one who can remove you from the fraternity roster.
5 – Move on like a gentleman. You were privileged to secrets and rituals as an initiated brother. Those rights of passage are sacred to the fraternity. Don’t discredit yourself by sharing what you know.
Take the high road when you are asked about the fraternity. Nothing positive comes from you speaking poorly of the fraternity. Simply saying that it didn’t work out should be good enough.
Joining Another Fraternity
I get the following question more than any other on this site: “I want to quit my fraternity and join another one. Is this possible?”
The short answer is no. What you need to realize is now that you have quit your fraternity, you really should not be thinking of joining another one. This is like getting divorced, and immediately looking to get married again. That isn’t right. You need to take some time to get your mind right.
Also, you need to realize that all fraternities have their members take an oath at initiation that the fraternity they join will be the only fraternity they ever join. The National Interfraternity Conference, which is the governing body for fraternities, doesn’t support allowing members of one fraternity to quit and join another.
The long answer to this question is in my article titled: Can I Quit My Fraternity and Join Another Fraternity?
Quitting a fraternity is a very difficult decision. Friendships have been formed and memories have been made. You should not make the decision lightly. If you do decide to ultimately quit, I hope the information above helps make your transition a little easier.