People with a criminal record who are looking to rush a fraternity or sorority may experience some difficulty when trying to secure a bid, as Greek organizations across the country have started doing background checks on their potential new members.
“I think it’s been a trend over the last two or three years that the organizations have started to this,” said Travis Martin, adviser to the National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Multicultural Greek Council at UGA.
Jeremiah Lemons, a senior sports management major and the president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, said he’s not sure when the organization started doing background checks, but it was something he went through when he was a rushee.
“I think my fraternity specifically does that just to make sure that the new members are quality people,” Lemons said. “You never want anyone who is been in a negative light or anything like that to come into an organization and give that organization that negative light that they cast.”
There are several different kinds of background checks Greek organizations investigate, the most common being criminal background checks and credit checks. Background checks are often done by companies before hiring new employees to protect current employees, customers, assets and other individuals with whom this employee might come into contact, something Greek houses on campus seek to do as well.
Lemons said Alpha Phi Alpha does full background checks to get an idea of who is coming in and representing their organization, which is similar to what many companies do before hiring someone.
“[The report] will either come up as either green, yellow or red,” Lemons said. “Red is automatic dismissal. Green is good. Yellow there’s some concern and issues that the candidate will be talked to about personally and then the decision will be made based off of that conversation.”
Omega Psi Phi fraternity also does background checks on their rushees, said Craig Jackson, the state representative for the fraternity. Similar to Alpha Phi Alpha, Jackson said his organization does background checks because they want to make sure no one who would possibly give the fraternity a bad reputation is coming in, or at least talk to those who do not necessarily have a clean record before inviting them to join their organization.