UPDATED October 14, 2022
This FAQ addresses common questions from the community regarding changes in the affiliation status of some of USC’s Interfraternity Council chapters. Please contact Student Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org with additional inquiries, thoughts, or comments.
At USC, we have about 40 recognized fraternities and sororities across five councils that are coordinated through the office of Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development (FSLD). Within that, the USC Interfraternity Council (USC IFC) is the coordinating and governing board for North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) fraternities that are affiliated with the university. Until August 2022, there were 15 members of the USC IFC.
In August 2022, eight organizations which had been part of USC IFC voted to formally end their relationship with the university. In October 2022, two additional organizations voted to disaffiliate. There are five remaining members of the USC IFC.
Students are strongly recommended not to join these disaffiliated organizations or to attend unregulated parties associated with them. The decision by these organizations to leave the USC IFC means the level of university supervision, for both members and guests, has been seriously reduced. Students who attend events with these disaffiliated organizations need to be aware of these circumstances.
All members of USC-affiliated fraternities are provided access to a host of benefits and opportunities also afforded recognized student organizations. This includes access to training on hazing prevention, direct support from USC’s FSLD professional staff, access to campus safety partners, and opportunities to participate in peer educator programs with USC Student Health and USC Student Equity and Inclusion Programs (SEIP). In addition, the university works closely with the chapters to help maintain strong academic performance by reporting chapter average GPAs each semester and council average GPAs.
One thing that distinguishes the disaffiliated organizations is that they own sizable residential properties. Organizations that chose to disaffiliate with USC are now like any other private residences or apartment buildings that house USC students. The university is no longer able to access/verify membership rosters or oversee membership eligibility, recruitment processes, and timing; standardize and enforce event safety measures; and enforce chapter-specific training requirements and chapter-specific academic support initiatives. For example, previously USC had been able to suspend the chapters from activity if they were found to be in violation of serious conduct and event planning rules, restrict pledging and activity when a student’s GPA dropped too significantly, ensure all chapters participated in pre- and post-party safety assessments, and more.
We encourage students to join and engage in activities with student groups that are officially recognized and affiliated with USC, including the roughly 40 other recognized fraternities and sororities. The university partners and works collaboratively with such organizations to promote the safety and well-being of all students.
Because the 10 disaffiliated organizations have decided to leave USC IFC, they are choosing not to abide by university rules and regulations established over many years to support members and protect their safety, health, well-being, and academic success. For that reason, we strongly recommend that students do not join or attend unregulated parties hosted by these groups.
One thing that distinguishes the disaffiliated organizations is that they own sizable residential properties. Organizations that chose to disaffiliate with USC are now like any other private residences or apartment buildings that house USC students. We no longer have access to these houses, we don’t know who lives there, nor do we know how the leaders are handling issues of training and whether they are meeting the requirements set forth by their national governing bodies. We especially discourage students from attending unregulated parties in the houses of disaffiliated fraternities.
A variety of reasons have been cited, including event management rules and the length of time it takes to complete federally mandated conduct investigations and hearings. We also understand that the university’s first-year recruitment policy was a significant factor. Most of the disaffiliated organizations have already begun to conduct unauthorized fall recruitment.
In 2017, USC put in place a recruitment eligibility policy that effectively moved recruitment of first-year students to the spring. After the policy was enacted in 2018, four fraternities and one sorority sued the university. The California Courts of Appeal upheld USC’s policy.
Many other universities across the country have eliminated fall rush for first-year students, and USC has no intention of changing this policy. It is one of many protective measures focused on student well-being and allows first-year students time to acclimate to the university socially and academically before engaging in an intensive recruitment process and time-consuming social activities. With eligibility requirements in place, research has shown that students engage in fewer risky behaviors and are more successful academically and socially. Even by the second term, the evidence is strong that students are better prepared to make decisions to avoid risky social and damaging academic behaviors.
Students interested in joining an affiliated fraternity or sorority must have completed a minimum of 12 academic units at USC and earned a minimum USC grade point average of 2.50. Transfer students are eligible after completing one academic year of college coursework, post high school graduation.
Yes. A thriving Greek life has been a part of the USC experience and tradition for many students for more than 130 years. Many students – and alumni – have found close connections and values through their associations with these groups. We are disappointed these eight organizations broke from our long tradition by following a national trend of disaffiliation. There are seven remaining members of the USC IFC, and the majority of Greek letter organizations across all five councils remain affiliated with USC and are in good standing.
Students who are members of these organizations are part of the Trojan community. As individuals, they will always receive our full support and access to university resources. Like all students, they also will be held to the same behavioral standards as their peers, which are outlined in the new USC Student Handbook.
All students must abide by the USC Student Handbook and will be held accountable for violations through our student judicial process or Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX (EEO-TIX).
Organizations that chose to disaffiliate with USC are now like any other private residence or apartment building that houses USC students. The university is no longer able to access/verify membership rosters or oversee membership eligibility, recruitment processes, and timing; standardize and enforce event safety measures; and enforce chapter-specific training requirements and chapter-specific academic support initiatives. These groups that belong to the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) are expected to follow standards prescribed by the national governing body. The NIC provides guiding principles, policies, and oversight and offers insurance coverage and training.
Reporting misconduct is important – whether the alleged activity occurred in affiliated or disaffiliated houses. In cases of immediate emergency, please call 911. A list of other confidential reporting resources is available on the EEO-TIX website.
Students should notify the university of allegations of misconduct, including sexual assault, through USC’s reporting systems. This includes the Department of Public Safety (DPS), Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX (EEO-TIX), or a Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development (FSLD) staff member. Students also have access to supportive resources through the office for Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Services (RSVP).
Individuals also can report directly to the national organizations, which are responsible for enforcing bans on hazing, alcohol and drug use, and other prohibited or illegal activities within chapter houses.
As we do now, USC’s Department of Public Safety will refer any evidence or allegations of criminal activity to the Los Angeles Police Department. It is important to note that all students must abide by the USC Student Handbook and will be held accountable for violations through our student judicial process or Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX (EEO-TIX).
The president and vice president of the USC Undergraduate Student Government and the USC Panhellenic Council Executive Board published official statements regarding disaffiliation.
There is no dual affiliation. All members of USC IFC – regardless of whether they also join outside organizations – are subject to the institution’s health and safety, hazing, recruitment, and prevention education requirements. University and FSLD policy and guidelines supersede any policies from the independent organization.
Prior to fall 2022, our rosters showed around 1,100 members in USC IFC organizations. As of August 2022, we had about 500 in USC IFC affiliated organizations. Unaffiliated organizations do not share their rosters with the university.
The Working Group on IFC Culture, Prevention and Accountability was created after allegations of misconduct, including drugging and sexual assault, in fall 2021. The Working Group made a series of recommendations that required all fraternities to meet safety and well-being steps prior to engaging in social activities in the spring.
The disaffiliation by the 10 organizations was especially disappointing because student representatives from the USC Interfraternity Council (IFC), Panhellenic Council, and Undergraduate Student Government were members of the Working Group and closely collaborated with faculty and staff to evaluate and create the recommendations.
We certainly hope the disaffiliated organizations will choose to adopt the recommendations of the Working Group, but there is no way for the university to enforce that. We do, however, expect all USC students to apply the highest safety standards for any private gathering, and we will continue to investigate all reports of misconduct, both internally and with the appropriate authorities.
The other councils follow their own by-laws to determine if they will host events with disaffiliated organizations. Each individual chapter can make the choice it deems best for its organization. We continue to advise against shared parties for the reasons stated above.