Contrary to what most students and administrators alike believe, despite the requirement of a non-fraternity contract upon enrollment at the University, some students have continued to engage in activities that involved fraternities.
Since the implementation of the no-fraternity rule and the requirement of the non-fraternity contract in 1995, the University does not recognize fraternities. Dean of Student Affairs Fritzie De Vera reiterates, “Fraternities are not recognized in the university. Therefore we do not consider fraternities to be present in the University.”
Moeover, the University does not recognize participation or membership of some students in these fraternities. According to a representative from the Student Discipline Formation Office, since the implementation of the rule, there has been no record of any fraternity-related cases. And while the SDFO has received emails in the past under partial or full anonymity, many of the cases have remained unverified.
The rules against the involvement of students in fraternities, sororities, and other organizations not recognized by the University are explicitly stated in Section 5 of the University Student Handbook (2012), specifically, 18.104.22.168-20 and 22.214.171.124. According to the handbook, membership of a fraternity or sorority (or in any organization showcasing violence), encouraging other students to violate the non-fraternity contract, and participation (whether explicit or implicit) in hazing activities are considered major offenses.
The occurrence of any of the above, however, is not so easily monitored, and is still persistent inside and outside the University.
The non-fraternity contract and continued involvement
Freshman Migs* recounts, “I was [hanging out] with my friend in timeout. Then, after a while, a guy approached me… then he asked if I wanted to join a frat.” Migs previously had an experience as a member of a fraternity in high school prior to enrollment at the University, and thus declined the invitation. He adds, “Frats are useless. You get into fights with somebody you don’t know [because] of some stupid rivalry. My bond with my friends is much stronger than the one i have with my frat brothers.”
Upon admission into the University, students are required to submit a non-fraternity contract. And while the process has reduced the number of fraternities, the ease of having these contracts signed – even without verification – should also be noted. Hence, some believe that the provision could easily be cirvumvented.
Student Heinz* shares, “Do you think it exists? Do you feel the existence and importance of the non-fraternity contract? It doesn’t matter so much to me because I am not a member… but for those who are [members] who want to attend this University, they aren’t stupid. Obviously, even if you’re part of a frat, you would still say “no” and have it signed. They wouldn’t know, and they can’t hold it against you because they have no evidence.”
In other cases, students are involved because their parents are also involved in fraternities. To exemplify, several interviewees mentioned fraternities where membership is passed down from father to son. One student expounds, “It’s not a patronage system. [the members] are very intelligent.”
Fraternity member Jett* explains that for some fraternities, membership is lifetime. He adds, “Usually, [recruitment and membership] begins in high school.” Once the initiation has been passed, a member may quit in the sense that he will no longer be active, but a frat member will always be frat a member.”
Asked if he still has a positive view of fraternities, Jett* says in, “In the time of our grandfathers and [fathers], the brotherhood was very strong. But now, because our mentality is different, it’s all about bravado and showing off.”
Others, however, still see fraternities as an important part of their every day life. One frat member describes, “It’s just the start of a new beginning, a stepping stone to leadership and [a] better life… I am a member not just by name but by heart.”
Moreover, several students at DLSU are members of less threating fraternities, which include religious fraternities.
The no-fraternity rule was implemented as a preventive measure after a string of small incidents concerning fraternities, including physical violence. Prior to this, a number of fraternities had chapters in the University. No major incidents, however, have been recorded.
Some alumni recall that although many students were involved in fraternities back then, many remained disciplined since unbecoming actions could subject fraternity members to disciplinary sanctions by the University, including expulsion.
Currently, the University takes few preventive measures against student involvement in fraternities and sororities.
De Vera says, “Some freshmen students from [some of our feeder schools] are interviewed by the [SDFO] to further explain the contents of the contract they sign. Policies in the handbook, including on fraternities are explained during the LPEP. In this way, the members of the community especially the students are being reminded of this policy.”