Mt. Vernon Register-News

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October 16, 2013

Fraternities scuttle recruiting ban prompted by drinking deaths

(Continued)

Fraternities are putting revenue ahead of safety, said his father, Scott Starkey, 54.

"If you defer the recruitment of your members, you're deferring income, I get that," he said. "We're business people. But I also feel there's a human side."

On a crisp late summer day during freshman orientation last month at Cal Poly, posters near dormitory entrances urged students to wear black wristbands with the name of the Starkeys' charity: "Aware Awake Alive."

"Take care of yourself," read the posters. "Take care of your friends."

Freshmen were divided over the new rush policy. Adam Massini, 18, from La Quinta, Calif., said it would be better to delay recruitment.

"Freshmen haven't had much experience with drinking and don't know their limits," said Massini, who is considering joining a fraternity to perform community service.

Waiting isn't going to stop freshmen from drinking heavily, said Grant Caraway, a former star high school football quarterback from Granite Bay, California.

"Some guys are going to be stupid, no matter what," Caraway said.

With formal recruiting weeks away, a banner hung outside the Lambda Chi Alpha house. In bold, block letters, it greeted freshmen: "Welcoming You the Right Way Since 1979."

While deferred recruiting gave freshmen more time to choose a fraternity, Lambda Chi now has no choice but to pursue them right away, said Joe Hare, 21, its vice president.

"If all the fraternities do it, we can't wait," he said. "It's social suicide."

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