Claims of women wearing wiretaps caused paranoia among sororities at the University of Alabama (UA) during last week's rush week.
One woman claims she was dropped from the recruitment process after being accused of wearing a microphone.
The New York Times released an article on Friday about the frenzy which took place during rush week in Tuscaloosa. Rush is the term typically applied to the recruitment process for fraternities and sororities.
Over 2,500 students came to campus to participate in recruitment this fall. Alabama Panhellenic recruitment ended Sunday. Bids were distributed in person in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
According to the Alabama Panhellenic Association website, not all women who go through recruitment are guaranteed to receive bids from sororities.
For the last five years, 89% of women participating in the open house round of recruitment have received a bid. Around 6% of women participating in recruitment voluntarily withdraw during the process, and approximately 5% of women are completely released from the recruitment process without receiving a bid.
Videos from UA rush went viral last year on the social media platform TikTok. TikTok videos posted by individuals rushing at UA have already received hundreds of thousands of views.
The New York Times spoke to 23-year-old Emily Limbaugh, who said she was approached online in 2021 by a Vice Studios producer working on a documentary for HBOMax. Limbaugh is a graduate of UA and is an alumna member of Alpha Phi.
Limbaugh told the Times that she declined to cooperate with the producer after she was asked about her Christian faith and political beliefs and consulted a family member.
A spokesperson from Vice Studios confirmed to the Times that they are working on a documentary about rush at UA but said they did not plant hidden mics.
One woman, Marina Anderson, was accused of wearing a microphone inside a rush party, which caused her to be dismissed from recruitment.
In a video uploaded by Anderson to TikTok, she said she knew the reason they suspected she was wearing a wire was that she was wearing a hair tie.
"When the execs pulled me over, I immediately showed them, and they said they 'weren't at liberty to check me,'" Anderson said. "… so they said basically this was a final decision made before I even had any chance to say anything."
Anderson said she called the dean of students and other Panhellenic officials. She also took a video immediately after the incident, which she said is proof that she was wearing a hair tie. She said the officials told her there was nothing they could do.
"I was begging them to search me and begging them to just listen," Anderson said. "... I don't blame the actives that reported it. I can see how it looks a little bit suspicious, but I do believe that the association could've taken into account the possibility that it could've been a hair tie, and they should've listened to my explanation rather than just by cutting me as a whole."
@plzdeletethisaccount0 Replying to @kayelozier #greenscreenvideo ignore the crusty morning look. but yea #bamarushgonewrong ♬ original sound - marina
Those rushing sororities at UA must sign a contract with the Alabama Panhellenic Association agreeing not to disparage sororities or sisters. They also must agree not to record rush parties or bring bags or cellphones into the sorority houses they visit.
UA assistant director of communications Shane Dorrill said that UA has not authorized a third party to film or record the recruitment process but is aware of reports that they have.
"The University is aware of reports that outside parties have facilitated unauthorized recordings of our students involved in Panhellenic recruitment," Dorrill said. "The University unequivocally does not condone surreptitious filming or recording of students, some of whom are minors, without their consent."
Dorrill also said UA doesn't allow media inside occupied buildings, including residence halls and sorority houses.
"To be clear, the University is not involved with this production and finds these reported activities to be deplorable, especially when targeting recent high school graduates," Dorrill said.
When 1819 News reached out to Auburn University Panhellenic and Greek Life to ask whether similar incidents have occurred there, they declined to comment.
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