This year, Miami University’s Interfraternity Council (IFC) implemented a $20 registration fee for men participating in fraternity recruitment. The fee was used to provide pizza for potential new members (PNMs) during recruitment and to pay for a program called Intercollegiate Services (ICS), a software that allows PNMs to log in and check the status of a potential bid in a fraternity.
Junior Ben Meacham called attention to the fee’s possible negative effects in a letter to the editor published in The Miami Student Feb. 4.
“IFC needs to reconsider charging the registration fee next year for formal recruitment,” Meacham wrote. “No one should be discouraged from signing up just so chapters can have food during rush.”
According to IFC statistics, 1,007 men registered for fraternity recruitment this year.
“That’s over $20,000,” junior Alex Catanese said. “Leaders from Cliff Alexander Office and IFC wanted to install a fee to incentivize PNMs to take recruitment more seriously. And there are other costs; we have to pay for ICS and they were going to supply pizza for the chapters. Usually that’s the fraternity’s own expense.”
Catanese said this year, recruitment fell during the week of the class cancellations due to wintery weather.
“This year, rush was the week of all the class cancellations,” Catanese said. “IFC canceled rush two of the nights, so they only provided pizza two of the nights. They provided probably $100 to $200 per night per fraternity. What I want to know is, where is this $20,000 going? It doesn’t affect me, it affects the freshman and sophomore men who paid the fee.”
Twenty-seven fraternities participated in formal recruitment. If IFC provided $100 per fraternity per night, $5,400 would have been spent on pizza. If IFC spent $200 on pizza during recruitment this year, the cost would have been $10,800.
Catanese also raised the issue of the source of money used to pay for IFC executive members’ Vineyard Vines pullovers embellished with IFC and Cliff Alexander Office logos.
“The execs on IFC did not pay for them,” Catanese said. “They were given to them by the Cliff Alexander Office. What I don’t understand is how the governing body can justify a Vineyard Vines pullover. There are ten members on the executive board and the pullovers cost well over $120. I’m not sure what budget it came from.”
Catanese said the $20 registration fee is an egregious amount of money that needs an answer from IFC and the Cliff Alexander Office. He also said he brought up these issues to question the operations of the governing bodies of the Greek community and the possible abuse of trust between them and current and prospective Greek students.
Vice President of Recruitment Kapish Manicka said the fee was used for the ICS program and pizza for the chapters participating in recruitment. He said last year, the new ICS program was paid for by a fee charged on the back end of recruitment rather than the front end.
“That database isn’t cheap,” Manicka said. “The difference between this year and last year was it was free to sign up because we charged a fee on the back end after recruitment was over. This year, we charged it on the front because it covered ICS and dinner costs.”
Manicka said the fee did not contribute to the purchase of the pullovers.
“We actually in our budget for the year set aside money for us to have an outfit not only to represent the IFC on campus but also at national leadership conferences to make Miami stand out from other IFCs,” Manicka said. “We’ve done it every year. It’s a separate budget from the registration fees.”
Assistant Director of Cliff Alexander Office Danny Catalano confirmed the separate budget for the pullovers.
“That money is a budgeted line item,” Catalano said. “We budget for some piece of apparel so when we get a chance to represent the IFC around campus or conferences, we’re able to use that article.”
Catalano said any leftover money from registration fees this year went to the programming budget.
“If there was money left over, that went to our programming budget,” Catalano said. “The programming budget is what allows us to put on Greek Week and Acropolis [a Greek leadership conference], for example. IFC pays heavily into that programming.”