Jackson State University’s Panhellenic Council has imposed a membership cap of 50 new members on the eight active fraternities and sororities on campus.
According to Cathy Patterson, coordinator of Greek affairs at the Jackson, Miss., school, the council voted during the fall semester to limit the number of members an organization can admit during the intake process. Each active fraternity and sorority has a representative on the council, and the measure is now part of the Panhellenic Council constitution.
"The Pan Council felt that this number was more manageable and would foster the development of more brotherly and sisterly relationships," Patterson said.
She said other colleges and universities were surveyed to determine which ones have membership limits and how they had been affected. "Some schools are happy with the caps and some are not, but it is something that other HBCUs do," Patterson said.
Representatives were not asked how they voted, but some of their members were clearly vocal about the limit.
James Gordon, an elementary education major from Colewater, Miss., and a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, said "If there are more than 50 people that are qualified and are in good standing with the university, they should not be denied the right to participate,"
Ashley Davis, a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority and a biology/pre-med major from Natchez, Miss., agreed. "There may be more than 50 that are qualified and if I were in that number, I wouldn’t want to be overlooked because of a cap and I knew I had what it takes," she said.
LaRicky Robinson, a Zeta Phi Beta sorority member, said "More females are interested in pledging than males, and if 60 people wanted to pledge and were qualified, we would take them."
John Swope, an English major from Phoenix, and the only member of Iota Phi Theta fraternity at Jackson, said he felt such decisions should be left up to the individual organization.