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Pitt frats plan fines for bad grades

Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

University of Pittsburgh fraternities will be fined for pledges who get poor grades, a student-led effort to boost academic performance.

Pitt's Interfraternity Council, the governing body for 19 social fraternities, prescribed a 2.5 GPA for second-semester freshmen, encouraging frats to recruit men of high academic caliber when they pledge in the fall. The council will fine houses $20 for each tenth of a point below 2.5 their pledges fall.

“Chapter leadership is being held accountable,” IFC President Zach Patton said, so chapter officials can ensure “their pledge programs are directed in a way that demands appropriate academic focus.”

To join a greek organization, Pitt students must have at least a 2.5 GPA. First-semester freshmen are exempt because they don't have a Pitt GPA yet, said Summer Rothrock, Pitt's assistant director of leadership development and greek affairs.

Pitt's average fraternity GPA is 3.024, and the average for all male students is 3.042, according to Patton. School officials declined to confirm those figures.

“The fraternity average at Pitt has not been above the all-male average (at) any time in recent history, if ever,” Patton said.

Rothrock said in an email that she's proud of the IFC for encouraging academic excellence.

Neither the National Pan hellenic Council nor the Collegiate Panhellenic Association enforces comparable policies, though individual chapters may require members to maintain GPAs higher than the campus minimum.

“(That's) likely because sorority women have habitually surpassed the (campus-wide) male and female Pitt averages,” Patton said.

Money raised through fines will go toward academic programming for struggling pledges, with oversight by the IFC, Patton said.

If the policy had been enacted last spring, he said, chapters would have paid about $300, though spring pledge classes traditionally are one-quarter the size of those in the fall.

Megan Harris is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-388-5815 or mharris@tribweb.com.

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