The University of Kentucky’s governing fraternity council announced Thursday that fraternity recruitment would be made fully online this fall.
Citing concerns from members and “the increased number of COVID positive cases within the UK community,” the Interfraternity Council elected to move rush events — which were initially supposed to be done in a hybrid format — to fully online, wrote Harrison Keith, the council president and Parker Tussey, the council’s vice president of recruitment, in a letter published on Instagram on Thursday.
“This decision has not been easy to make, but it is important to understand that there is no reason to put the health and safety of our community at risk,” the letter stated.
The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department has reported 98 COVID-19 cases among UK students since Sunday — bringing the total since March to 338. The University of Kentucky’s public dashboard, which has the number of cases through Sunday and only includes the positive tests from UK’s student-testing initiative, has recorded 225 cases since Aug. 3 with an overall positivity rate of 1.2 percent. The initiative aims to test all on-campus students within seven days of arrival. Classes started Monday.
The return of students to campus has not been without issue. Earlier this month, the university received reports of parties in near-campus neighborhoods and re-iterated its goal of enforcing its Student Code of Conduct — which includes social distancing rules — on- and off-campus. Last weekend, one of the largest Christian student groups had a late-night cookout shut down by the university after it attracted too many attendees.
Fraternity recruitment is slated to begin Sept. 7, and originally included a virtual kick-off and “four in-person Meet the Chapter rounds with virtual options,” a July release about Greek Life recruitment stated. Zoom calls were supposed to be used by participants with scheduling conflicts or those who opt-outed of the in-person format. According to its website, the council includes 22 fraternities and about 1,800 students.
The new details on the fully digital fraternity recruitment are yet to come, the letter stated, but the goal is to have at least one in-person Invite Night where potential new members could visit a chapter in-person prior to the Sept. 12 Bid Day where new members would be invited to join interested fraternities.
“If we all do our part, we hope to be able to have an in person Invite Night, however that will be based on COVID cases, overall behavior and a judgement call based on our gut feeling about what is happening,” the letter stated.
Sorority recruitment for UK sororities in the Panhellenic Council will begin their virtual recruitment Friday. According to the July release, sorority recruitment will include three virtual Zoom rounds and one in-person round. Bid day is Aug. 31. According to the Panhellenic website, the organization includes 15 sororities and 3,600 students.
The seven historically Black fraternities and sororities in the National Pan-Hellenic Council set their own recruitment dates and plans individually. The five special interest and culturally-based fraternities and sororities in the United Greek Council also coordinate their recruitment plans separately by chapter.
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