Five University of Southern California Greek life organizations — four fraternities and one sorority — are suing the university for what they perceive as a violation of their first amendment rights.
The organizations that are suing the University of Southern California are The four USC fraternities-Sigma Chi, Beta Theta Pi, Theta Xi, and Tau Kappa Epsilon- and one sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on June 22.
The lawsuit claims that the university’s new policy that bans recruiting new students until they’ve finished a semester violates the First Amendment. It also dismisses USC’s claim that one new students need “one semester to acclimate to USC academics and social life.”
Starting this fall, new USC students must complete 12 units of classes before rushing a fraternity or a sorority. The new rule effectively keeps incoming freshman from rushing until the spring semester. Students also need a GPA of 2.5 or higher.
In a memo announcing the new policy to the USC community in September 2017, Vice President for Student Affairs Ainsley Carry said the first year of enrollment is “the toughest year of the transition to college life as students experience the most social and academic challenges.” Carry said like other universities, USC wants to give new students “time to acclimate to the university’s academic and social climate before participating in Greek-letter organizations.”
The lawsuit, filed by Kirkland & Ellis law firm, dismisses USC’s claim that new students need “one semester to acclimate to USC academics and social life.” “Students in sororities and fraternities perform just as well academically, if not better, than the student body population in general,” the lawsuit states with a copy of Fall 2017 Greek Life Community Academic Report attached.
The suit from the fraternities and sororities demands the USC retract their policy and “allow incoming first-year students to join a sorority or fraternity if they choose during their semester.”